- At what age do we begin to wonder if there isn’t something more? 30? 40? 50?
- Have you hit the place where you begin to wonder if your career—whether you pursued it as feverishly as a foxhound or simply fell into on the way to somewhere, or nowhere, else—is worth the trouble?
- Would you ever admit that you began to look elsewhere to see if a new job or home or church or car or spouse or life might make life meaningful again?
- If you’ve not yet been there, are you wise enough to recognize that you just might be someday?
40/40 Vision is written for individuals who can pinpoint an age or answer yes to one or more of those questions. The book’s subtitle, Clarifying Your Mission in Midlife, reminds us that we each have a mission for life, a mission from God, whether we are living it consciously—or at all.
What is your mission? And what will happen/is happening/has happened to the way you live it out when you hit midlife? Does midlife have to be a time of upheaval, of shipwreck even, of casting off the values (or people) you’ve held close for decades? Is there a way to navigate these waters that forges a stronger commitment to God’s mission while casting away the jetsam that truly doesn’t matter?
40/40 Vision turns to a book of the Bible that knows how much jetsam, how much unnecessary baggage, we can load up our lives with.
“Many of us, like my puppy, wag and snap at a million things we want. We try to find substance in the trinkets big and small that money can buy. But the fuller our houses get, the emptier our souls feel. The more we acquire, the more we require.”
“Everything is meaningless, completely meaningless,” is how the writer of Ecclesiastes puts it. He uses “meaningless” 30 times, just to be sure we get his point. He’s tried it all and it’s all nothingness.
Authors Peter Greer and Greg Lafferty use this Bible book that could discourage us from attempting to find satisfaction in a pointless life to show us something important:
God put Ecclesiastes in our Bibles [to] guide us to the heart of nothingness, that we might seek life elsewhere.
I received a free copy of this book as part of the Peter Greer’s launch team, and I knew they were eager for me to write reviews of it on Amazon or other sites and here on the blog. But I couldn’t hurry through it. I may be on the far end of midlife (well, if people are living to be 120 or so) but there was so much practical wisdom to digest, so much hopefulness, that the authors have mined from this Bible book about meaninglessness.
Greer is the president and CEO of Hope International, a Christian microfinance organization, a ministry providing small loans and advice to enable people living in poverty conditions to start a business and support their families. It’s sounds like incredibly fulfilling work. Could he really have struggled with a lack of meaning in life? Apparently. And so can I. And you.
I have lobbied for a small group I’m part of to read and discuss 40/40 Vision together in the new year because I want to revisit its chapters that cover questions like:
- What happens when the thrill is gone?
- How do we build true wealth?
- How do you stop and rest before life stops you?
- How do we grow up gracefully?
I also gave the book to a friend for Christmas. I wish I could give it to all of you—whatever your age—but I don’t possess those kinds of resources. So do yourself a favor; get a copy of your own. It would make a great start to the new year. Marinate in it. And discover for your own life this truth:
“Just because there is no meaning under the sun doesn’t mean there is no meaning beyond it.”