What would you say is a life “well lived?” Put another way, what constitutes a well-lived life? Those questions sometimes invade my thinking at those times when I am prompted to ponder. At weddings, funerals and some- times when I’m on vacation, I wonder, “Has my life been well lived?”
I suppose that none of us has lived the entirety of our lives as well as we could have lived. There have been those times when I could have been more disciplined or I could have applied myself more in my studies or in my vocation. There are those critical moments in our relationships when we could have treated someone differently. We might well have listened more and talked less. And there were those times we should have made our voice heard, but we chose the cowardly way of silence lest we “rock” the proverbial “boat.”
The Biblical witness of Jesus’ life would lead us to the conclusion that the Nazarene’s life was the epitome of a life “lived well.” Of course, any of us would cower at the prospect of having our lives held up in the light of the Eternal Christ to clearly reveal our every flaw. Our Christian Doctrines hold to the sinlessness of Jesus Christ.
Yet, it is my contention that even lives that are not perfect can still be “well-lived.” And how shall we live well? I believe that we Methodists have in our tradition and in our General Rules of the Church a good start.
First, as far as is possible, be a person who does others no harm. I know a life has been well lived when at a person’s funeral the eulogists can sincerely say, “He never said anything bad about anyone.”
Second, do all the good you can. WOW! What a way to live. Of course, I know that all people have and will be guilty of sin, but to give ourselves as completely as possible does not diminish God’s grace or Christ’s gift to us. Rather, it honors what God’s Grace aims to accomplish.
Finally, attend to the Ordinances of God. I’ve never known of anyone who, if they made the first two general rules a part of their living, wouldn’t be a greater person by reading scripture , by reflecting on it in prayer, by worshiping with others and by serving others in the name and Spirit of Christ.
One of the blessings of being your Pastor is seeing before me and beside me so many whose lives are being well-lived.
Blessings for the Living of these Days,