Outlive Your Life

“A self-focused life is not fulfilling-its perpetually frustrating… Materialism is a legacy killer.” Philip Wagner added to this already great thought as he pointed out that when we focus on ourselves, we become frustrated.  In our frustration, we focus on ourselves more, try to do more, become more, acquire more and inevitably become more frustrated.  And so the cycle continues.

We live in an all consuming culture.  We like stuff.  We want stuff.  We need stuff.  Achievements, awards, clothes, cars, shoes, houses, deals, gadgets, information, stuff.  Stuff is not our problem.  Consumption is.  The actual stuff is a neutral issue, but constant consumption of stuff can create a critical perspective and a strong sense of entitlement.  Holly, Philip’s wife, has cautioned me to fight this attitude of entitlement in our generation, because it threatens our destiny.

I know she’s right, because I personally have had to battle the thought that I “deserve” certain “stuff” by this certain “time”.

Speaking of stuff, I still have a blackberry, which I love with fierce loyalty; however, I am entirely devoted to stealing my husband’s stuff, his iPhone to play Fruit Ninja. Starting with a decent score of 675, I continued to descend as I played into the depths of the 300’s last night.  I made an ultimately strong decision to retire for the night and left the iPhone in my lap, where I was seated next to Cody on our lounge chair and a half.  We realized the iPhone was unlocked and Fruit Ninja was playing a game I was unaware of, which meant not one fruit was sliced… which also meant as a player, I had descended deeper into the depths of zero.

Here’s the thing:  Fruit Ninja still rewarded me 65 points.

That’s right, for scoring a ZERO, and for doing absolutely NOTHING, I received 3 bonuses – 5 points for “Juicy Slicing” (even though I did no slicing!), 10 points for “No Bombs Hit”, and 50 points for “No Bananas Sliced”.  Its silly, but it reminded me of our culture.  Do nothing and get something.

Literally, some folks do nothing and are rewarded with more stuff.  And others of us are pretty good at disguising our “do nothing”.  We consume information, read books, articles; we attend conferences, watch webinars and Ted Talks.  We show up to work, church, class; we busy ourselves with activities.  And you know what, we’re rewarded – we have something to yack about, people give their stamp of approval on what we say and how we show up.

But what have we really done?

Are we self-focused or others-focused?  Does the stuff we do, consume, and have fill some insatiable black hole in our souls?  Or does it actually help us live a life that counts, a life that matters, a life and ultimately a legacy, that will outlive the 80 years we have on this planet?  Materialism has so many faces and it is a legacy killer.

How has materialism threatened your legacy?  How has entitlement threatened your destiny?

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