Morning Thought: What is your purpose, your end goal? What moves you to wake up in the morning? The Japanese have a word for it: ikigai (EE-kee-guy). Ikigai is what makes life worthwhile. For example, helping others could be your ikigai.
Knowing your ikigai imparts joie de vivre (jwah de veev-ruh). Yes, more foreign words. It’s a French phrase meaning enjoyment of living, zest for life or a delight at being alive. Studies show that purpose and joy cause people to live healthy and long lives.
And this leads us to our concluding Hebrew letter, Tav ת. It’s the twenty-second letter of the Hebrew Alphabet – the last latter – and it has a numerical value of four hundred. A tav תו is a mark, sign or signature. It signifies the end.
Tav ת begins one of Hebrew’s most important words: Torah תורה. Torah means teaching, law or guidance. According to Scripture, the happy and fulfilled life (ashrei אשרי, how happy) is one devoted to learning and living the Torah, God’s teaching (Psalm 1).
Furthermore, the Book of Revelation – the Bible’s final book – reveals that Jesus is the Aleph א (the first Hebrew letter) and Tav ת (the last Hebrew letter). In other words, Jesus is the beginning and end. Or, as the Greeks put it: the Alpha Α and Omega Ω. For those who believe, Jesus is our source, our Aleph א and our end-goal, our Tav ת.
The apostle Paul was a quintessential example of living with Jesus as his Alpeh א and Tav ת. While locked up in prison – wrongly accused – he still had joy, even abundant life. Why? He explains his ikigai in Phil 3:10: “I want to know Christ more.” This passion is what moved and motivated Paul – it got him out of bed.
Inspired by Paul, I want to know Jesus deeper and nearer. I live to make his word known through living, preaching, teaching and writing. Life is often not kind to us. But there is a greater life: Christ within. I have joy because Jesus is my Tav ת – my pursuit, passion and goal. It’s my prayer that you can say the same, “Jesus is my Tav, my reason for living.”