“For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love be servants of one another.”
“You can have it all,” the saying goes. How many times and in how many ways is this promise pushed at us from all corners of life? It is a false promise, of course, but one to which we are terribly vulnerable. Why? Partially because of our wants, or to put it a bit more forcefully, our appetittes. And when our appetites for things, for experiences, for money, for security, etc, drive us we begin to see life as a quest for aquisition, for having what we want, for personal fulfillment. How many lives have been shipwrecked in the pursuit of “having it all” is beyond calculating.
One area of life where the impact of this false promise has been devastating is the family. Raising children means parents putting their own fulfillment aside for the sake of their children. They may not recognize it but such commitment is actually the key to their fulfillment. If a couple continues to defend their right to personal fulfillment after marriage they probably should not be parents. Their candidacy for marriage itself may be called into question.
The basic problem with this false promise is the premise, what it says about life. A meaningful life does not begin with me and what I want. Service and not fulfillment is the basis for a meaningful life. “Having it all” is the fairy tale that seduces us into the fantasyland of fulfillmenrt on our terms. The more you seek it the more it will elude you.
Sadly, the “having it all” mentality can also find it’s way into churches, where a gospel of personal fulfillment replaces the faith and freedom of the Gospel. The Scriptures tell us that Jesus came among us to serve and not to be served. A reading of the gospels reveals the extraordinary power and freedom this kind of living produced. It is this liberating life of love and service that God wants for His children.
In Christ we have been set free from the insatiable pursuit of the self and it’s wants. At the same time we have been set free for true fulfillment which cannot be pursued for it’s own sake. When love and service become our aim, fulfillment is thrown in.
“May the peace of God that passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord.”