“We are here to add what we can to life, not to get what we can from life.” ~ William Osler
William Osler was a Canadian physician and one of the four founding professors of Johns Hopkins Hospital. He created the first residency program for specialty training of physicians. Osler was also the first to bring medical students out of the lecture hall for bedside clinical training. He spent his entire life trying to increase the abilities of his medical students as well as to improve the practice of medicine. In many ways, Walt Disney had the same kind of practice when he spoke about the need to “plus” things, that is, to make them better than they were before.
If we decide that we are here to get as much out of life as possible, we are the human version of leeches. That doesn’t sound very appealing, does it? It shouldn’t. We are not here to suck the life out of others. We are here to contribute to the good of others and, to the best of our abilities, to make lives better because of our contribution.
Who am I to tell you that you are here to make the lives of others better? Actually, I’m no one special. And I’m not the one telling you that. I’m the one reminding you of that. The one who is telling us that is none other than Jesus Christ Himself. So, if you have any bones to pick about that admonition, talk to Jesus, not to me. (On social media, I would put a smiley face after that sentence. I’m sure you know that I’m typing what I say “tongue-in-cheek”.)
Jesus expects a lot from us. That is because Jesus gave us a lot. We were formed in the image and likeness of God. We messed that up and sin entered the world. God promised to send a redeemer and that person came to us when Jesus was born. Jesus redeemed us by dying on the cross and rising from the dead.
During His few years of public teaching, Jesus instructed His followers to serve one another and make one another’s lives better. When He ascended to Heaven, He told His followers that His mission was now theirs. And now, His mission is ours.
Don’t think about what you are going to get out of life. Think about what you can do for others instead. Make life better for your having been alive. If each of us did our best to make our world a better place, well, imagine what could be achieved!
FAITH ACTION: Make today incredibly better than yesterday for the people you encounter.