Live Longer or Live Better?

A hand reaching out to a higher power, represented by the overpowering light of the sun setting on the horizon. The gesture represents the desire to improve quality of life. From John Ed Mathison's blog "Live Longer or Live Better?"

LIVE LONGER OR LIVE BETTER

One of the hot topics of discussion today is how we can help people live longer. Between 1900–2003, the average life expectancy of the US rose from 49 up to 78 years. That’s almost a 60% increase. People are living longer.  Singapore boasts the world’s longest life expectancy—84.8 years.

There’s a lot of money, energy, and brainpower at work at this very moment to help increase that life expectancy. I’ve read that you can now register to receive a Fitbit Inspire H.R. for $10 a month for one year of coaching to improve your health and lengthen your life.

Today it’s becoming big business to provide facilities for people to live in as they grow older. In my own area, in Montgomery, AL, there are currently three new large facilities on the drawing boards or under construction. I’m a part of the aging population. I appreciate what’s being done. 

The bigger question is not how we can live longer, but how we can live better. We don’t measure fulfillment and happiness by how many days we live, but by how much we live each day. 

The rising rates of suicide in America indicate that we must give serious thought to this question. In 2017, more than 47,000 people committed suicide. Most alarming to me is the fact that it was the second leading cause of death among people between the ages of 10–34. We had more than twice as many suicides in the US as we had homicides! Couple those statistics with the increased use and misuse of medical prescriptions and the growing rise of depression and loneliness—we must focus on what it means to live effectively. 

A hand reaching out to a higher power, represented by the overpowering light of the sun setting on the horizon. The gesture represents the desire to improve quality of life. From John Ed Mathison's blog "Live Longer or Live Better?"

Voices around us encourage us to work harder, be more active, and get involved in things that don’t give ultimate fulfillment. I’m concerned about young people finishing college. It’s not important how much money they make or how quickly they can advance, but how they are fulfilling God’s purpose for their individual lives.

Success should never be defined by what happens in material terms. Real success is only understood in spiritual terms. We must understand why we are here and how best we can fulfill God’s purpose for our lives. Fulfillment, meaningfulness, and success in life are always in terms of a spiritual status rather than a materialistic metric.

C.S. Lewis hit the nail on the head when he wrote, “We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink, and sex, and ambition when infinite joy is offered us. We are like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud-pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” 

Jesus said, “I have come so that you might have life and have it in all of its fullness.” (John 10:10) Jesus lived, and died, and rose again so that every person could have real life. Today, it’s good to desire to live longer, but it’s far more important to live better. Only the God who created us can bring joy and fulfillment and purpose to life—regardless of our age. 

Are you experiencing life to the fullest?

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John Ed's book "Quotient Quizzes: What's Your Score?"
John Ed Mathison's book Change Change! How to Creatively Cope with Change
John Ed Mathison's book Transformed Living in Tough Times
John Ed Mathison's book When God Redefines the Possible
John Ed Mathison's book Every Member in Ministry
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