One has to decide for oneself what you want your life to amount to. When you come to die what do you want to be remembered for if anything.? I can sympathize with the guy who says:
“Why must you always hound me to make my life “meaningful”, to make my life count?? Isn’t it enough that I survived and provided for my family and even helped out a few friends and strangers along the way? I perhaps harmed, through ignorance and selfishness, a few people along the way but I have attempted to make amends to these people and I have always tried to learn from my mistakes. Most importantly I have tried to avoid increasing the misery in the world. That should be enough!
Now go away and leave me alone. It is you people…the ones who always insist on living lives of greatness that bring misery into the world. You are like the reformers, the incessant busybodies who are always out to “improve” things. You mow down villages to create parking lots and you empty out neighborhoods, calling them slums, to create roads suitable only for machines not human beings. You are always trying to make the world a better place and in the process you create living hells for all concerned. What folly! Stop! Silence! lead a humble, quiet life. Don’t attempt the grandiose as you will only create misery and chaos in your wake.”
Like I said I have a lot of sympathy for this point of view. I hate the social justice warriors and the reformers and the do gooders. They would do well to learn the truth of the old saying that “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”. The do gooders never question themselves. They are utterly convinced that they are on the right side of history and that their intentions are pure.
So I say again I sympathize with the sentiment to avoid the grandiose and huge projects and to seek the quiet humble life. But the problem is that we live in times that do not allow anyone to live the quiet humble life. The reformers and the do gooders will not allow it…they won’t leave us alone and therefore we have to respond to prevent them from creating another living hell. The social justice warriors will be coming for you and your family soon if you do not toe their line. In addition, Jesus commands us to be perfect. That dis-allows the option of mediocrity. The pursuit of perfection involves navigating the thin line of humility while attempting holiness and greatness.
To not waste your life you have to give it to something greater than yourself. The social justice warriors are right about that. But they forget that you also need to attempt perfection via humility. the crucial thing is what do you choose to devote yourself to? First on the list of worthy things to give yourself to is of course God–the uncreated. Once you have that straight then you are on the straight path as the Prophet (peace be upon him) says. To choose God first you need to tangibly, in reality and therefore you need to dedicate your life to service to his church. Next on the list of worthy objects of devotion are family and friends. But again devotion to the church will allow you to better serve family and friends so everything comes back to the church as the tangible, the real life marker of one’s devotion to perfection.
Now the church in its worldly dress looks fragile, corrupt in many respects, old fashioned, unattractive, quaint and bizarre. But when seen with the eyes of faith its supernatural virtues appear and the Church is crowned with glory and beauty and there can be no greater object of devotion in this life than the church. That devotion is what is needed to bring the church through its latest crisis.