How does God measure our life?
Updated: Nov 27, 2018
Our purpose in Life: Answers according to Clayton Christensen (Friday, October 14th, 2016)
Harvard Business School, Spangler Hall, the second couch circle.
When I was 15 years old, I read an article from New Era magazine that changed my life. It was a time when I just found my faith but I was struggling to be myself and live true to my beliefs in practice. After reading the article, I found so much strength and courage in that article that I walked out of the house. I decided that I need to go to church even though my parents won't let me. I had so much faith that I no longer fear what men think because what Clayton Christensen did inspired me to seek truth and live a genuine life, and what he shared was true.
I believe that if I prioritize my spiritual learning like reading my scriptures and going to church, I could always find time and balance for my busy studies, work and demands in life. Later, I studied his seminal pieces of business articles and publication in college, and learned that he was a business leader and very accomplished professor from Harvard Business School.
Today I got to spend an hour asking him about a question that I have pondered for long--how to live our purpose in this life. Surprisingly, he instead presented me a different question that is more important: How will God measure our life?
Clayton Christensen first asked me to talk about my life. I shared my story in a quite complete form. I talked about my conversion when I was 15 years old, my opportunity to serve the mission, and the desire of my heart to build His kingdom. Then, I talked about the obstacles I saw in law school, religious freedom, and what I learned at BYU and Cornell---everyone is stressed and working so hard but ever more depressed, lost and not happy.
I asked him how he found his purpose on earth and what was it. He shared with me by distinguishing God and men.
He shared with me the following words:
"God and man are very different in that men are limited. We have limited capacity to take account of things. That is why we need accountant and finance people but God would not need that. Men seek to aggregate things by numbers, and they seek life’s meaning in a hierarchy sense. If you preside over bigger number of people, money or things, you seek meaning of life that way. People find meaning of their life by moving up the hierarchy.
On the other hand, God has an infinite mind. He has no need to aggregate. He sees us as individuals. At the end of our lives, I imagine God would not ask us how many-aggregated number. You are a famous Harvard Business School Professor….No, He would not do that. He will ask me, Clayton, I put you in this situation with those children of mine, what did you do? The individuals that I got to help to become better people, the five children I am blessed with, and those are what will count. For God, numbers don’t count. God will care about how I spend time responding to my child when he needed me, how I helped my student, or how I treated and interacted with anyone even in their brief interaction.
So I found my purpose in spending time to help people become better people. Either by, if appropriate, invite them to learn about Jesus Christ, or somehow help them become better people. Help other people is what I want to do with my time on earth."
He is not just a business strategist, but a wise life strategist. He begins with the end in mind because he visualizes what it would be like to meet God, and what kind of measurements that God would use to measure his life, instead of focusing on the worldly standards. Also, it humbles me how simple and down to earth practical his goals and life purpose are, coming from a person with so much worldly success.
In the afternoon, I spent most of my time sitting there at HBS. I was pondering why is that we tried to chase honors and pride of the world; yet we are never experiencing lasting happy but become ever more empty. I look at the Harvard Business School student’s eyes and face; they were intense, focused, but really not in any way different than what I see in a stressful, anxious or achievement driven college campus where everyone was chasing for more recognition, opportunities and money. Cornell is the same. BYU is no exception. I imagine HBS or BYU students would be more full of energy, balanced, and different but I find the same state of living that is driven by exterior motivation and worldly success, or the aggregation of ever increasing numbers of position, honor and wealth.
When could we truly be free from those worldly influences? Instead of seeking to be free from the worldly influences, we could free ourselves by not focusing externally on what others want but seek what we truly cares for. That for me is being able to live my life purpose with a vision to meet God again, and what God would care about--the people that I helped with.
Wherever you are, be there. Clay’s words truly awaken me a sense of NOW. I feel that I could be at present, and being present is the right thing to do. To change myself, and to live in the present and live true to our purpose every moment.
It is so easy to fall into the trap of past and future, and miss the purpose of life--be ever present and grow in the moment of challenges and opportunities that life blesses us with. My achievements and goals are not a delayed gratification at a future state; it is in the NOW that I must find ways to live my life purpose.
I left the school pondering about my life: How I could be better now, and how I could help everyone around me be better now, rather than thinking "one day I will...or I will be able to...or when I become this or that...then I will live my purpose". It is empowering to think that we can be of help right now, and we can change and be an influence for good right now as we interact with or serve each other, or learn and grow in school and at work.
What is my purpose is no longer a question about future and past, but an organic process of living in the present NOW, letting God take my path to serve His children, and doing good all along the way. Then, I am truly following Christ.