A More Purposeful Life - Sunday, January 4, 2015
As another new year rolled around, a middle-aged man sat quietly in his favorite chair. His wife noticed him staring ahead with a thoughtful look on his face and said, “Jim, you look troubled. Is there something on your mind?”
“Yes,” he replied. “Here we are at the beginning of another year, and it doesn’t look like it will be any different from the last one—or the one before that. It makes me wonder how much meaning my life really has. I feel like I work hard every day, but what’s the real purpose of it all?”
It’s not unusual to sometimes feel the way this man did. We all want to make a meaningful contribution, but sometimes we wonder whether our efforts even matter.
In response to such desires to live a more fulfilling life, some might turn inward, focusing more on satisfying their personal desires. They may seek meaning in recreation, entertainment, or the comforts and pleasures of life. Ultimately, however, their pursuits tend to leave them even more dissatisfied than before.
Other people take a different approach. They choose to leave the safe confines of their usual, comfortable life and turn outward in selfless service. Some are skilled medical workers, farmers, teachers, or business managers, and some have little more to offer than their time and a willing heart. Some travel to developing countries, and some find opportunities to serve in their own neighborhoods. But they all have certain things in common: they want to make life better for someone else, and they’re willing to do it for little or no pay—though they always come away feeling richly compensated. And they rarely wonder if their life has purpose.
Human beings have a special capacity to recognize the needs of others—this, if nothing else, is what separates us from the rest of creation. And we all have something we can freely offer, even if it is only a smile and a word of encouragement. This is how we ascend to a more purposeful life: by reaching out to lift someone else. A well-known line of poetry says it best: “I’ll lift you and you lift me, and we’ll both ascend together.”
Jan. 4, 2015, Broadcast Number 4,451
Mormon Tabernacle Choir
Orchestra at Temple Square
Standing on the Promises
Russell K. Carter; arr. Ryan Murphy
I Feel My Savior's Love
K. Newell Dayley; arr. Sam Cardon
Trumpet Tune in C
Happy and Blest Are They, from St. Paul
On a Clear Day, from On a Clear Day, You Can See Forever
Burton Lane; arr. Arthur Harris
How Firm a Foundation
Attributed to J. Ellis; arr. Mack Wilberg