“Whenever we are faced with a crucial decision, our generation has been taught to ask, What’s in it for me? Will it give me pleasure? Profit? Security? Fulfillment?” (Erwin W. Lutzer).
THE CONCEPT OF “FULFILLMENT” IS SO WIDELY MISUNDERSTOOD, I ALMOST HESITATE TO SAY ANYTHING GOOD ABOUT IT. In the self-centered, narcissistic age in which we live, many people have bought into the foolish idea, promoted by the psychological establishment, that there are no higher goals in life than “self-fulfillment” and “self-actualization.” I certainly don’t want to encourage that kind of thinking. Nevertheless, fulfillment is an enthusiastic idea, and we need to consider it rightly. Let’s try to do this by considering what some of the things are that need to be fulfilled in our lives.
Desires. We would all like to have our desires fulfilled. And as long as our desires are within the boundaries of moral integrity, there is nothing wrong with this. What some don’t understand, however, is that the best way to doom our desires is to make them our primary focus. “I doubt that there has ever been one recorded case of deep and lasting fulfillment reported by a person whose basic mind-set and only question was: what am I getting out of this?” (John Powell).
Responsibilities. As we move higher on the scale of value, another form of fulfillment is the fulfillment of our responsibilities. However much I am concerned about getting what I want, I should be more concerned about doing what I should. Life “under the sun” is not just about enjoyment; it’s about doing our duty and finishing our work.
Potential. This, finally, is the fulfillment we should be seeking the most passionately. Each of us is a unique “package” — we have a very particular set of abilities, gifts, and opportunities. These personal characteristics are not merely for our personal indulgence; they are meant to point us in the direction of some worthy goal we have the unique ability to reach. So are we going there? Are we headed in that direction? Are we fulfilling the potential we’ve been given? “The important thing is this: to be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we could become” (Charles du Bos).
“Do not seek death. Death will find you. But seek the road which makes death a fulfillment” (Dag Hammarskjöld).