A Disappointing Life

Donald McCullough compiled some interesting information on several famous men over the years.  As you will see, each of these men shared something in common.  They were all disappointed with their lives’ accomplishments.

  • Alexander the Great conquered Persia, but broke down and wept because his troops were too exhausted to push on to India.
  • Hugo Grotius, the father of modern international law, said at the last, “I have accomplished nothing worthwhile in my life.”
  • John Quincy Adams, sixth President of the U.S.–not a Lincoln, perhaps, but a decent leader–wrote in his diary: “My life has been spent in vain and idle aspirations, and in ceaseless rejected prayers that something would be the result of my existence beneficial to my species.”
  • Robert Louis Stevenson wrote words that continue to delight and enrich our lives, and yet what did he write for his epitaph? “Here lies one who meant well, who tried a little, and failed much.”
  • Cecil Rhodes opened up Africa and established an empire, but what were his dying words? “So little done, so much to do.”

(SOURCE – “The Pitfalls of Positive Thinking”, Christian Times, September 6, 1985).

In reality, many of these men accomplished great things in their lives.  So, why were they so disappointed?  There are several reasons why this could be the case.  Maybe they felt like they could have tried harder.  Maybe they wished they could have done more during their lives.  Maybe they wish they did many things differently.  Beyond these, one reason is for sure.  They were disappointed because they all felt like their accomplishments were insignificant.  Despite remarkable feats, these men knew their influence only went so far.  Life would end, they would be forgotten, and all they did would stop at the grave unless someone continued it.  See, their accomplishments only affected this physical, temporary world.  Nothing eternally significant was done.  Truly this would be disappointing.

Are you disappointed in your life?  Do you feel like your accomplishments are shallow?  Maybe the problem lies in focusing on physical gain (Colossians.  No matter how many great, noble, and glorious things we do in this life, if all we do is succeed physically then we too will share in those men’s disappointment.  There is little benefit in physical accomplishments in this life (1 Timothy 4:7-8).  If we are disappointed in what we have done, then let’s consider shifting our focus to the spiritual, and eternally important, matters.  Let’s focus on saving ourselves, our family, and our friends.  There is truly nothing more significant and fulfilling in this life than knowing someone was changed in eternity.  If we want to life a fulfilling life, then let’s “Think Souls.”


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