THIS WEEKEND I attended three sermons by a thoughtful and passionate speaker. It seems plain that this person is a participant in life, not merely an observer and that, at an early age, he asked God (and himself) hard questions, “What is the purpose of my life?” An engineer by training, he must have wondered, “This is nice, but is this all there is for me to do?”
This thought “clicked” this morning when I was watching the news and saw previews for some interesting movies. I thought “That would be interesting to see” and “That one would be quite engaging.” It hit me. Is this all I want out of life? To merely wander around, observing from the sidelines, analyzing and critiquing the contributions of others? What is my contribution? Has God given me more to do with my life, my talents and my time than to be entertained, to have my mind tickled?
Of course, we need to be keen observers of culture, but we also need to be makers of it. We need to contribute something. We are all participants in the work of others, in certain contexts. When a university professor delivers a lecture, the team quarterback is one of many in the room. But when the quarterback takes the field, the professor may be a spectator. When the priest delivers the sermon, he is doing his work, making his contribution. When he gathers with the youth group for a Superbowl party, he is one of millions of observers.
Still, the question remains for each of us: What is my contribution? I think many married couples fight because one (or both) never asks this question. If my mind is consumed with this question, I do not ruminate over what the other is failing to do for me.
The hour a person sits watching Snookie pump her fists, Kris Jenner express her feelings on Kim’s life, and/or the bickering of New Jersey housewives, could it not be spent reading something of benefit, planning a useful project, running a few miles, or in the depth of prayer?