What is a life well lived? Often, we may read of people who made the most of their talents and opportunities. Perhaps we hear those words to describe the life of one who has just died. Leaders in business, education, medicine, the military or in politics are sometimes given as examples of those living a life in service to others. A life well-lived!
Service Above Self
Members of a prominent civic organization of leaders in a variety of occupations stress the principle of “service above self.” The ideal of giving back is a goal of many successful people.
Consider the life of Thomas Obadiah Chisholm. Born in a small, rural community in South-Central Kentucky, he attended a one-room school of only eight grades. Few in his community had more than an elementary school education.
Chisholm was an obviously bright student. His community named him teacher of their one-room school when he was only sixteen. He did not even have a high-school diploma, but he was a fine scholar—student and teacher.
Young Chisholm also found time to work for the local newspaper. He left the classroom at age 21 after being named associate editor. His success in journalism led to a promotion to editor of a major religious publication in Louisville, Kentucky.
Chisholm’s personal Christian faith deepened. He answered a call to full-time service as a Methodist minister. Ordained at age 34, the church named him pastor of a small church near his hometown.
Although serious health issues prevented Chisholm from continuing as a pastor, he continued to write poetry. He wrote 0ver 800 published poems, including many hymns.
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Life Insurance Sales
But Chisholm still had new work to do. At age 43, he moved across country to New Jersey to take up a new career in life insurance sales. He was most successful, continuing in this profession for 44 years, before retiring at age 87.
A Life Well-Lived
Thomas O. Chisholm lived a life in service to others, motivated by his Christian faith. And, he left us all a beautiful gift in his hymn, Great is Thy Faithfulness. This present is both a blueprint and a challenge to a life well-lived.
Consider these verses on which Evangelist Billy Graham founded crusades and which have inspired many people like you and me.
Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.
Pardon for sin and a peace that endures,
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide.
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand has provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!