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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The search is on

The one who seeks good finds delight...
(Proverbs 11:27)

I read a book once called "The Search for Significance".  The basis of the book was in finding out what it is that we really have "need" of in our lives.  We have lots and lots of "wants" that we often confuse as "needs" in our life.  Sometimes it may be something like desiring a better job instead of being grateful for the one we have.  The desire is a "want", while the actual job we have meets the "need".

The title of the book grabbed my attention.  I guess that is what the author intended - because we often are drawn to a book by its title or cover.  This morning, I'd like to focus on two words from that title:  Search and Significance.

Search basically has three definitions:
  1. To look into or over carefully or thoroughly in an effort to find or discover something.  The idea is this "thoroughness" of examination that we put something (or someone) through before we embrace it (or reject it).  There is a desire to know the "ins and outs" of what it is we are examining - nothing being left that we don't discover in our examination.
  2. To look through or to explore by inspecting possible places of concealment.  Usually, when we are seeking in this manner it is because we "really" want to find something that we consider important to us.  It is like when we put something away "so carefully", only to discover that we don't remember where we put it when we need it!  The hunt is on!
  3. To look at as if to discover or penetrate intention or nature.  This is probably the most significant definition of this word because it moves us from "head knowledge" (knowing something) into a place of "heart knowledge" (knowing why something is the way it is).  This type of searching gets at the root.
Significance has four definitions that I'd like us to explore:
  1. Something that is conveyed obscurely or indirectly.  In other words, the importance of what it is we are seeking is not always obviously displayed (it may be found only when we "peel back the layers").
  2. Something conveyed or implied as important.  We often refer to something as "significant" whenever we have elevated that thing or person to a place of importance in our lives.  Yet, what is important to you may not be as important to me, so this means that significance is determined by how an individual "relates" to something or someone.
  3. Something that reveals meaning.  We sometimes refer to something, an event, or an individual as significant because there is meaning conveyed in the contact with that thing, person or event.  
  4. That which is caused by something other than chance.  This is the definition that I want to emphasize the most (it is the most "significant" definition).  There are things that happen that are purposeful - not just a cosmic event of "chance".  There are people in our lives placed there for a season - not just by "chance", but to fulfill a purpose.  When we begin to realize that the event or the person is not just there "by chance", we begin to explore so as to discover the purpose (the significance).
There is one thing I've discovered in my walk on this earth - if I don't know what it is that I am going after, I will never know if I am successful in my search.  If I am aimless, I seldom hit the target!  In order to know what it is I am aiming for, I must answer four questions:  1)  What am I searching for?; 2) Why is this thing / person / event important to me at this point in my life?; 3) What is it that I see as fundamental to getting at the root of the issue?; and 4) Who is it that I am willing to share this search with?  

I am never expected to "seek" alone.  We are given each other for the purpose of walking this journey together.  The "search" is on - who is it that you will partner with in this search?