At church this morning, the pastor said that the purpose of life is not to get rich, but to learn how to love.
I do not always know how I, as an introvert, can love other people. One thing I liked about a recent book that I read about love, however, was that it was sensitive to that very point. It was by a pastor of a church that is renowned for reaching out to the community, and he said that some do service work for the church without interacting with others. They work behind the scenes, or they do the actual hands-on labor (i.e., washing the cars).
I get a little leery at Christian talk about putting other people first. I’ve been watching The Thorn Birds lately, a miniseries from the 1980’s. In the first episode, Frank is telling his little sister Meggie to accept the priest’s offer to provide her with an education. She needs to do something for herself, he tells her, because nobody else is going to look out for her. That advice may be a bit one-sided, but it is not totally wrong. What’s ironic, though, is that I admire Frank in that scene precisely because he is thinking about somebody else—-his sister—-desiring her well-being even if that does not affect him personally.
I would not say that the purpose of life is to get rich. I do hope, however, to get to the point where I can provide for my needs, and maybe have enough left over for my loves, books and movies!
At the same time, I think that I should be conscious of others. There are other people in the world, with thoughts, feelings, and needs, just like me. I would be wrong to disregard that.