A group of fifty people attended a seminar where one of the speakers had them carry out an exercise. Every person present was handed a balloon and asked to write their name on it. The balloons were then collected and put in a small room. The attendees were asked to go into this room, all together, and retrieve their respective balloon. They were given a five-minute time limit to get back to their seats, each with his or her balloon. The small room was in utter chaos as each person frantically tried to locate their balloon in the allotted time. Unfortunately, the time limit expired and only a handful of people had retrieved their balloons, so the rest went back to their seats in defeat. Each person who didn’t have a balloon was asked to go back into the small room and retrieve a random balloon. They were then asked to come back and hand the balloon to the person whose name was written on it. Within minutes everyone had his or her own balloon. After the exercise, the speaker got back on the podium. “The exercise you just completed shows an accurate picture of the state of our lives. Everyone is frantically looking for his or her own happiness, knowing that time is about to expire. From the exercise we learn that we would find our happiness much faster if we focus on the happiness of others first. Help them find their happiness and they will help you find yours. This is the purpose of human life.”
My cousin shared this story on one of our groups earlier this week. It reminded me that I meant to write a blog post regarding this exact lesson about two years ago. See, after I quit my job in 2015, I started trying to figure out exactly what God wanted me to do with my life. I was looking for specifics on the purpose of my life. Thus, I discovered the true meaning of life. In a previous series I did on “The Fruit of The Spirit”, I remember mentioning once that a tree does not consume any of the fruit it produces. In a similar way, the fruit you produce as a Christian isn’t for your own consumption. This concept is the very basis of life. So many things about the way the world works point to our existence being dependent on the existence of others. Let’s look at the math shall we. If each person in the world cared for only himself or herself, then each person would have only one person caring for them. But, if one person cared for ten other people, and each of those ten cared for the other ten, then of the 11, each person would have ten people caring for them. And the world would be a much better place.
So there I was, having discovered the true meaning of life with such clarity. I knew that I was not created for myself, but for other people. Unfortunately, I never ended up putting it into practice. I didn’t write that blog post. I kept it to myself and quickly forgot this very important life lesson. Needless to say, things did not end up going that well for me. Within the last several months, however, I have rediscovered this lesson and I’m happy that I am finally writing this post. I decided to use the story above because it brings the point home so beautifully. I added my own experience to make the point that learning the lesson alone isn’t enough. You have to allow the lesson to change your life by putting it into practice. When you learn a new word, you have to start using it in everyday conversation otherwise you will soon forget it.
Philippians 2:3-4 (NKJV)
“Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.”