(Edit: Be sure to read the follow-up to this post, One Life.)
I love deep questions, questions that make you think, questions that get to the core of who you really are and what matters to you. I love it when my friends ask me those kind of questions and I love asking them in return, and one of my favorite questions both to consider for myself and to ask those around me is this:
If everyone in the world was listening to you for just one moment, long enough to say ten words, what ten words would you say?
It’s not an easy question to answer, but it’s worth the time and effort to come to a conclusion. You have to boil down everything that matters most to you, everything you’ve ever wanted the people of the world to understand, into one simple phrase, but in doing so you begin to realize what it is exactly that matters most to you, what ten words you believe the world cannot do without. For me, those words are as follows:
You only get one life. Don’t waste yours on yourself.
There are so many more things I would say if I had the chance, things about God and love and what it means to be human and how much we all need each other and how little we often realize it, but that is the heart of soul of it; that is my passion. My life is not about me. Your life is not about you. The world does not exist to make us happier people, we exist to make the world a better place, to make other’s lives fuller and happier, to exemplify Christ’s love until he returns to make the world into what it was always meant to be. So I challenge you tonight to do two things. First, think about your ten words. Let the question roll around in your mind for a while, let it define and articulate the loves and the longings that are always at the center of your heart. And second, think of one way that you can invest your life in someone else tomorrow, a way that you can influence their world for the better. You’ll be glad that you did, because your life was made for more than you. Don’t waste it on yourself.