John Izzo is a bestselling author who holds advanced degrees in religion and psychology. In his book, “The Five Secrets You Discover Before You Die” he has interviewed over 200 people, ages 60 -106, each of whom was identified by friends and acquaintances as ‘the one person they knew who had found happiness and meaning’. From town barbers to Holocaust survivors, from aboriginal chiefs to CEOs. All of these people had over 18,000 years of life experience put together.
From his study, he presents five secrets of a contented life – ‘be true to yourself’, ‘leave no regrets’, ‘become love’, ‘live the moment’ and ‘give more than you take’.
64 year old Ken is small town barber in Iowa. Let’s read the interview that Izzo has transcribed in Ken’s in his own words.” What I have discovered is the greatest happiness you find in life is always from what you give not what you get. These people who come into my barbershop live hard lives – working the soil. For a half hour, I get to serve them, help them relax, and do something for them. But the best thing about being a barber has been getting involved in people’s lives. Being a barber is like being a priest: people come in and tell you about their lives. It might be a teenager having problems with his parents, or a husband having a problem at home. You listen, and some way you try to help. The greatest pleasure in life is seeing that you make something better”.
Jesus is telling us that every fiber of our being and every facet of our lives must be committed to serve and love others. He said, “If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you” (Matt:5:41,42).
Onesiphorus is the best example of commitment in the Scriptures. In the words of Apostle Paul, ” May the Lord show mercy to the household of Onesiphorus because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains. On the contrary, when he was in Rome, he searched hard for me until he found me. May the Lord grant that he will find mercy from the Lord on that day! You know very well in how many ways he helped me in Ephesus.(2 Tim.1:16-18). It has to be viewed in its context to understand its depth and width. In the eyes of the state, Paul was a notorious criminal and everyone in the province of Asia had deserted him. Many people were ashamed of his chains. But Onesiphorus earnestly searched for Paul, found him and comforted him.
‘Refresh’ means to cool again. Onesiphorus’ presence was like a cool cloth on the burning spirit of Paul. What a pleasant ministry! This is possible for all of us. All it takes is commitment. Commitment is what transforms an idea into reality. In Psalm 37, David says, “Commit your way to the Lord; Trust in him, and he will do this.” Please remember at the close of life the question will not be, ‘How much have you got? but how much have you given? Not how much have you won? but how much have you done?
Let me conclude with another finding of Izzo. “There are two great tasks of a human life: to find ourselves and lose ourselves. We find ourselves by discovering our destiny and being true to ourselves. Yet is not enough to find ourselves, we also must lose ourselves”.