“You are God’s masterpiece created in Christ Jesus to do the good works he has planned for you long ago.” — Ephesians 2:10
“You cannot change what you are, only what you do.” – Philip Pullman
The world’s most famous set of awards is the Nobel Prizes. Presented for outstanding achievement in literature, peace, economics, medicine, and the sciences, they were created a century ago by Alfred B. Nobel (1833-1896), a man who amassed his fortune by producing explosives. Among other things, Nobel invented dynamite.
What motivated this Swedish munition manufacturer to dedicate his fortune to honoring and rewarding those who benefited humanity?
The creation of the Nobel Prizes came about through a chance event. When Nobel’s brother died, a newspaper ran a long obituary of Alfred Nobel, believing that it was he who had passed away. Thus, Nobel had an opportunity granted few people: to read his obituary while alive. What he read horrified him: The newspaper described him as a man who had made it possible to kill more people more quickly than anyone else who had ever lived.
At that moment, Nobel realized two things: that this was how he would be remembered and that this was not how he wanted to be remembered. Shortly after that, he established the awards. Today, because of his doing so, everyone is familiar with the Nobel Prize, while relatively few people know how Nobel made his fortune. Shakespeare’s Mark Antony was wrong: the good we do lives after us. For most of us, it is the most important thing that we leave behind.
Imagine you are at the end of your life, and you must write your obituary.
What would you write? What do you want others to say?
It’s not something we like to think about, but when we understand who we want to be, we can live with a sense of purpose. In the end, it’s not about what we’ve accomplished. It will be about WHO we’ve become. The lessons we’ve learned, the relationships we’ve had, and the impact we’ve had on others. There will be things we’ve accomplished, but that will be secondary to who we are.
Living a life of purpose starts with WHO before WHAT. It starts with knowing who we want to become before we decide what we want to do. Who we transcend what we do. Who we are doesn’t change, but what we do can constantly change. We are created as God’s masterpiece. Before we do the good works he has for us, we recognize he has created us to be a reflection of who he is.
Finish the sentence for WHO God is calling you to be in each of the focus areas below.
I want to be known FOR…