Bob Tamasy: The Meaning – And Purpose – Of Life

Monday, November 13, 2017 - by Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy
“What is the meaning of life?” If there’s a more profound, more perplexing question, I haven’t heard it. Everyone has an opinion about it, but it’s difficult to find a consensus on an answer. How would you respond?

Simplistic thinkers might react with something like, “To have a good time, man!” Or reply, ”Just to get through the day.” But neither really addresses the quintessential meaning of life. Shouldn’t life, its meaning and purpose be more than merely existing, or enjoying some fleeting, sensory thrills?

More seriously considered ideas have been suggested, but one I came across recently caught my attention: "The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.
" It’s uncertain who originated this view. It has been attributed to both William Shakespeare and Pablo Picasso the artist. Regardless of who said it first, it’s worth considering. 

One clarification: With Christmas fast approaching, “Will” and/or Pablo weren’t referring to gifts we find under the tree on Dec. 25. They were thinking about innate talents, skills and passions, the things that inspire and motivate us – and in the process, fill our lives with meaning and purpose.

I don’t fully concur with the assertion, because I’m in agreement with the Westminster Shorter Catechism which states, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.” If we believe God created us and has a unique plan for each of our lives, that’s supplies ample meaning and purpose. But recognizing our gifts – innate talents, skills and passions – and then determining to use them productively, also can go a long way in giving meaning and purpose to our everyday lives.

The apostle Paul seemed to concur, writing this advice to Timothy, his young protégé: “I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands…. He has saved us and called us to a holy life – not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace” (2 Timothy 1:6-9). 

In Timothy’s case, the gift involved channeling his faith into pastoral ministry. Paul exhorted him to “fan it into flame” so others would receive full benefit from it. Most of us aren’t called to preach, or to engage in pastoral ministry. But like Timothy, as stewards of the gifts, passions and callings God has provided, we’re urged to fan those into flame as well.

The Bible speaks specifically about spiritual gifts such as leadership, teaching, prophecy, mercy, service, encouragement, and others. But thinking in terms of recognizing our gift and then giving it away, as the Shakespeare/Picasso quote proposes, we can broaden the meaning to those things we’re especially good at that can be used to enhance the lives of others.

For some, this is teaching. As I’ve written before, the impact a gifted, dedicated teacher can have is immeasurable. I marvel too at those who have a special affinity for certain groups of people, whether they be small children, the disabled, the elderly and infirm, or those who demonstrate compassion and selfless care to those suffering with severe, often terminal illnesses.

Just the other day we had a couple of guys come out and cut down a couple of troublesome trees in our yard. Watching them clamber across those limbs, sometimes swaying in the wind, amazed me. When I asked one, “Are you having fun yet?” he replied, “If I wasn’t having fun, I wouldn’t be up here!” That, I believe, is the definition of a person who has found his gift.

For me, recognizing my gift – a love and facility for working with words – has resulted in a very fulfilling career as a writer and editor. There might be some who disagree, but I would like to think my work as an editor of newspapers and magazines, journalist, book writer/editor, devotional writer and blogger has been of benefit for some who have read my work. 

My love for photography also has enabled me to capture the wonders of God’s creation, whether in nature, things people have fashioned with the creativity the Lord has infused into them, or the people themselves. And I’ve been able to share this with family members and friends.

That’s why years ago I adopted Psalm 45:1 as my “career verse.” It states, “My heart is overflowing with a good theme, I recite my composition concerning the King. My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.” It’s even served as the basis for my one-person writing and editing enterprise, ReadyWriter Ink. 

Are you still trying to figure out the meaning and purpose of your life? If not, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to start by finding your gift – and then resolving to give it away.

----

Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, former newspaper editor and magazine editor. Bob has written hundreds of magazine articles, and authored, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include the newly re-published, “Business At Its Best,” “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” He edits a weekly business meditation, “Monday Manna,” which is translated into more than 20 languages and distributed via email around the world by CBMC International. To read more of Bob Tamasy’s writings, you can visit his blog, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com, or his website (now being completed), www.bobtamasy-readywriterink.com. He can be emailed at btamasy@comcast.net.

Trunk Or Treat Offered At Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church On Oct. 27

Cub Scout Pack 3037, Troop 137, and Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church at 6314 East Brainerd Road, will be hosting a Trunk or Treat on Saturday, Oct. 27, from 5-7 p.m. in the parking lot at the church. Scouts will decorate their automobile trunks with fun themes and enjoy handing out treats to the kids. The community is invited to this free and safe event. Wear your costumes! ... (click for more)

"Dial It Down" Is Sermon Topic At Metro Tab Church On Sunday

The public is invited to worship at Metropolitan Tabernacle Church at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday as Dr. Steve Ball, senior pastor will discuss "Dial It Down." The Music Ministry is led by Rob Alley and Metro Praise. Children's Pastor Olivia Aziz and staff would love to host your kids as well in the Metro Kidz Church. We are a multicultural non-denominational church. You can ... (click for more)

City Placing New Penalties On Use Of Cell Phones In School Zone And By Drivers Under 18

The city is setting new penalties for use of cell phones in school zones.  Drivers 18 and older may not use hand-held devices while in the zones, but they can be on their hands-free units. Another section of an ordinance change would not allow those 18 and under to be talking on a cell phone while driving. That includes even if the device is hands-free. The ordinance ... (click for more)

Rhea Puppy Mill Dogs Slowly Recovering From Years Of Abuse, Neglect

Five days after Watson and 108 other dogs were rescued from a dark, filthy puppy mill in Rhea County, the frightened 12-pound Yorkie mix doesn’t look like the same animal. Watson got lucky; he was one of the 28 puppy mill survivors that wound up at Chattanooga’s Humane Educational Society. There, volunteer groomers from Pet Smart shaved away the heavy, massive tangle of ... (click for more)

Walker County Needs A Board Of Commissioners

On Nov. 6, voters in Walker County, Ga. will vote on a referendum to determine if the county will move to a five person board of commissioners or stay with a sole commissioner form of government. The referendum is the result of several years of debate and discussion within the county. In 2012,  Dr. Paul Shaw, in his attempt to unseat then-Sole Commissioner Bebe Heiskell, ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Coach Who Said ‘No’

I couldn’t tell you the first time I met John Gagliardi … 30 years ago? 40? … and I never saw him nearly enough. He was a Division III football coach at some monastery of a place in Minnesota and that’s a long way from the Southeastern Conference. Our orbits rarely overlapped but somewhere down the line we were at the same table for dinner. Once that happened, it seemed like the ... (click for more)