I was with some of my old classmates from the seminary last night. As usual, it was a fun and a happy occasion as we swapped life stories, experiences and insights. Even as we relished each others company, we agreed that life does not become any easier as one aged. We talked about our joys and achievements; but we also talked about the challenges, the tribulations and the struggles we have to contend with. Not least of which are our health and physical problems. Much as we have dreamed of a life of ease and comfort in our twilight years, this is not the purpose of life. The purpose of life is to live a life of meaning and contribution.
As we recounted what still made us want to get up every morning and face another day, we were of one mind that the meaning of our lives would be measured by not what we have, by what we give away. Happiness is to be measured not by what we have acquired and amassed, but by what we have gathered together and shared. What matters most are not the titles or awards we have been given but the smiles we have put on other people’s faces and the fires we have kindled in their hearts. It is not the pain and suffering we were able to prevent or to remove, but the pain and suffering we have willingly shared with or even taken on for others. It is not the comfort and ease we have put into our lives but about the comfort and ease we have willingly given up so that others may have a slightly better chance at and a bigger share in their lives.
Not a few will be saved for our God is a God of Salvation. But salvation is not about being easy and comfortable. It is about the struggles of daily living, both big and small, that slowly nudge us to salvation and true joy and happiness. I have come across some recent studies showing that a generous heart is an essential component of being happy.
Someone asked him, “Lord, will only a few be saved?” He said to them, “Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able … Indeed, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”