Embracing Lifes True Meaning in the New Year

As I contemplate my New Year’s resolutions, the concept of finding true meaning in life beyond material possessions resonates deeply with me. I’ve been thinking about my goals, both professionally and personally. A sermon series really got me thinking and today I received an answer to prayer that I just had to share. By the way, I don’t normally promote sermons, but this series made a special connection for me, and it may be just what you need to set your own goals. You can find it at North Point’s Sermon Series whenever you’re ready.

The Transience of Material Possessions

The main point of the series was about New Year’s resolutions and ensuring your life has meaning. One point made was the fact that getting or having “stuff” doesn’t create any meaning in your life. The moment you’re dead, all of your “stuff” gets distributed to others, including a massive dump to goodwill. I know this intimately, as I lost both parents in 2023 and once they were gone and all that remained was their “stuff”—the message truly hit home—you can’t take it with you and it won’t mean as much to the next person in line as it did to you.

Addressing Child Inequality – What Breaks Your Heart?

Anyway, part of having a life of meaning is all about doing something for others that makes a difference. The minister asked one important question… what breaks your heart? I’ve always thought the biggest issue that broke my heart was the inequality that children face in life. Some kids have it all and more. Shopping trips every week to pick up more food than they’ll need, extra clothing, toys, electronics, they lack for nothing. Other little ones hope for a coat that fits in the cold weather, breakfast before school, or maybe a parent who finds a job and sticks with it. I have some favorite charities that address the needs of children who are less fortunate.

A Lesson in Empathy and Poverty at a Starbucks

But today something happened that brought tears to my eyes, and I learned a bit more about poverty and myself. I’m at a conference as I write this, and I’m always thrilled when the hotel I’m at has a Starbucks. Yes—I know I’m spoiled. You don’t need to tell me. It’s painfully obvious. Anyway, I waited until 6:00 AM when it opened and dashed in for my chai latte injection. What I found was not what I expected. A single barista, who looked just as sleepy as I felt, stood behind the counter. A homeless man had stopped in to get out of the twenty-degree temperatures by purchasing a plain black coffee.

Then I saw the door open but didn’t see a person come in. I looked past a sign that blocked my view and realized another homeless man was trying to get through the door, but was struggling because his wheelchair had gotten stuck. I rushed over to help along with the other homeless man, and we got him past the threshold successfully. He was a cheerful fellow and said the cold wasn’t all that bad when I complained. While he rolled up to the counter to order his morning caffeine, I noted he had a bat tucked in between his leg and the inside of the chair. That spoke volumes about his life on the streets.

I didn’t want to embarrass either of them by offering to buy them breakfast. Neither had asked me for anything and I didn’t want to offend. I ended up returning to my room to find the meager amount of real money I carry with me and brought it back to the young lady behind the counter. I gave her a cash tip and asked her to use the rest of the cash to buy something for someone in need, and she happily agreed. The whole “have vs. have-not” world we live in breaks my heart and now I know more about what I need to work toward helping to solve… even if it is for only one person in 2024.

Supporting Charities and Making a Difference

Some of my favorite charities are World Vision to help children in need, Feeding the Valley for helping put food on children’s tables, and Mercy Med for those who need healthcare.

What breaks your heart? I’d love to hear your comments and see your favorite charities that are making a difference in the world.