Ikigai (I-ka-guy) is a Japanese word that translates roughly to “a reason for being, encompassing joy, a sense of purpose and meaning and a feeling of well-being.” The Ikigai model has been used to teach leadership principles and help direct people into their calling in life. In business, Ikigai is thought to yield the highest levels of employee engagement and productivity while also fostering job satisfaction and loyalty to the organization. Many believe if you follow the essence of this model you will have a long and happy life.
Along these same lines, next to Christ, Solomon was the wisest (and one of the richest) men who ever lived. With all that he had at his disposal, he engaged in an outlandish experiment in which he denied himself nothing. He availed himself of every pleasure and entertainment imaginable. He applied himself to learning and all sorts of knowledge. He built incredible structures renowned for their design and beauty. Yet, apart from a relationship with God, he found all those pursuits meaningless (Ecclesiastes 1–2).
Jesus warned us, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” (Luke 12:15) He also said, “You cannot serve two masters… You cannot serve both God and money.” (Matthew 6:24)
In Jesus’ day as today, many seek happiness and ultimate meaning in life in numerous ways similar to those tried by Solomon. In our pursuit of meaning and happiness we’ve made so much of our careers, our fitness, our possessions, fame, fortune, sex, sports, and entertainments of all kinds. But as with Solomon, we discover in the end that none of that provides ultimate purpose.
Purpose, meaning, and lasting happiness comes only through a relationship with Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “I have come that [you] may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)
Ikigai may offer a good business model, but like all the other worldly pursuits it cannot provide the purpose and meaning in life for which we all long. I think Dr. Billy Graham had it right when he proposed the following guidelines for maintaining good spiritual health and a happy life.
- Read your Bible daily.
- Learn the secret of prayer.
- Rely constantly on the Holy Spirit.
- Attend church regularly.
- Be a witnessing Christian.
- Be a wholesome Christian.
- Let love be the ruling principle of your life.
- Be an obedient Christian.
- Learn how to meet temptation.
- Live above your circumstances.
Scripture Reading: Romans 12
To what extent are you currently enjoying your life? Which of the above guidelines would help bring you closer in your walk with Christ?
Jim Grassi, D. Min.
We cherish any verse in Scripture that reminds us to keep focused and intentional about evangelism and discipleship. “But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:5