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Current Page: Politics | Tuesday, August 05, 2014
Book Review: A How-to Guide for Exploring the Meaning of Life

Book Review: A How-to Guide for Exploring the Meaning of Life

Derrick G. Jeter | (Courtesy, Derrick G. Jeter)

The critical question for us moderns is, "How shall we be governed?" In America we are all politics all the time, making this a ubiquitous question. However, this wasn't always the most important question in life. In fact, for most of human history it was one of the lest important questions in life. Granted, most people in the past lived under kings or tyrants so the answer was pretty obvious—or it would have been if the question ever popped into anyone's head—but more was going on then than the fact that no one ever thought to ask such an obvious question. In times past, most people were interested in asking and answering a more profound question: "How shall we live?" (see Ezekiel 33:10). And this is a question too few of us living today bother to ask.

Christian philosopher Dallas Willard asked it and concluded "Meaning is not a luxury for us. It is a kind of spiritual oxygen . . . that enables our souls to live." And in the mind of Russian novelist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn: "Everybody has a purpose and the main purpose of each of us is how to understand it. Given the everyday preoccupations of ordinary life, people don't spend enough time thinking about that."

Solzhenitsyn couldn't have been more spot on. Life is busy. And who has time or the mental wherewithal to plumb the depths of such a deep question? Well, thankfully one man does and has—Bill Hendricks. And he's written a book to help us find an answer to the question that "enables our souls to live."

In The Person Called You: Why You're Here, Why You Matter & What You Should Do with Your Life, Hendricks tackles, with vim and vigor, the thorny philosophical underpinnings of purpose. But many books have addressed that—Victor Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning, Os Guinness's Long Journey Home and The Call, Max Lucado's Cure for the Common Life and Out Live Your Life, to say nothing of Rick Warren's wildly popular The Purpose Driven Life—so what makes Hendricks's book unique? The step-by-step guide to discovering your purpose.

What good is having a head full of knowledge about purpose, what Hendricks calls "giftedness," if you can't discover your own?

Hendricks has spent most of his adult life helping others discover the answer the vital question: "Who am I?" But he isn't content will simply leaving you with an answer to that question. He also helps you devise a plan so you might reach your fullest potential in the workaday world of actual living. As he writes: "An intention without a plan is a fantasy. If all you have is a fantasy, don't even bother telling anyone about it, because as soon as they ask how you're going to get there, they'll know you're blowing smoke."

There's no smoke in The Person Called You, but there is plenty of fire—enough to ignite or renewed the burning questions all of us have: "What are my passions?" "What is my purpose?" "What was I made to do?" "What is my calling?" "What is my gift?" Fortunately, Hendricks doesn't leave us smoldering; he guides us into finding soothing answer to these questions.

Without a purpose in life we may not die, but we never really live. Instead, living becomes one long walking and talking illustration of Oscar Wilde's truthful observation: "To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all." Without a purpose the joys in life are blunted while the pains in life are pointed. Without a purpose we run the risk of wasting our life in fruitless pursuits. Without a purpose we exist but we never live.

Hendricks has counseled with too many men and women who merely exist. He's written this book to help you live, to really live.

There is only one you, created by God to uniquely fill a void in the world that only you can fill. Who you are and what you do with your life is one of a kind; no one is like you and no one can do what you were designed to do just like you do it. But if you don't know your purpose, your giftedness, then you and the world are the lesser for it. And that is just something Bill Hendricks can't abide, because his purpose, his giftedness, is to help you discover the person called YOU!

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