Life is an adventure. Even Jesus emphasized life as an adventure, as a seeking and finding experience. He said, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things (food, drink, clothing) shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). This is even how Jesus emphasized prayer, “Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks find, and to him who knocks it will be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8).

Jesus’ emphasis on life as a quest, a seeking, reveals that life can be an adventure. Rather than looking at our problems and troubles as adversities, we should view them as adventures. Life is an adventurous quest. It is at this point that we should realize some vital truths for living a truly fulfilling life of quest and adventure. In other words, we can learn to cope creatively. In order to do so we must remember some basic rules for life.

We should realize the rule of consistent purpose. We must be consistently conscious of our designer, God. He made us, designed us. Because of this fact, we have value and purpose. We have a reason for being.

Many things grow out of this fact, including our purpose for being. One result of this “consistent purpose” is that we can value, make judgments and decisions. Never forget, however, that we must live with the consequences of our decisions. A real problem today is that we want to think and live anyway and not reap the consequences that follow from wrong living and wrong thinking. That is not possible. We will reap what we sow, more than we sow, later than we sow and the same as we sow.

Another fact associated with our “consistent purpose” is communication. We can use language — spoken and written words. We can talk and share. We should make what we speak and write consistent with our Designer’s purpose — right, good and positive.

Part of consistent and purposeful living is never to take the Designer for granted. The rule of consistent purpose includes believing in and being daily conscious of God. Sometimes we think of life, even God, as a vending machine — put your prayer in and out comes the answer.

Neither life, nor God, are vending machines. God is a person, He is not a celestial vending machine. Did you hear about the man who walked up to a vending machine, put in his coins and pressed the button labeled “coffee — double cream — sugar.” No cup appeared, but the nozzles went into action. Coffee, double cream and all the sugar flowed freely . . . down the little drain! After the prearranged amounts had been dispensed the machine turned itself off.

“Now that is real automation,” the man exclaimed. “This thing even drinks it for you.”

Put in the coin and/or push the right button has become a way of life for us. When the thing doesn’t work, some people make whimsical, philosophical, even humorous comments like this man. Others beat the machine and talk to it in less than civilized language. And still others try to find a real life person who can give them their money back.

Not only should we recognize life’s consistent purpose, we should recognize the role of cooperative endeavor. We need a great emphasis today on cooperation, but it is a very difficult thing to practice. We can help one another. We ought to help one another, especially in doing good things.

There is the story of a famous conductor who was asked which instrument he considered the most difficult to play.

He thought a moment and then replied: “The second fiddle. I can get plenty of first violinists, but to find one who can play second fiddle with enthusiasm — that’s the problem. And if we have no second fiddle, we have no harmony.”

Another word for this is cooperation.

We desperately need cooperative people in our world — in both religious, as well as secular circles. This — the rule of cooperative endeavor — is the second key to coping creatively with life. It was the Apostle Paul who wrote, “We are laborers together with God” (1 Corinthians 3:9).

A third key to coping creatively is recognizing the reward of creative expression. We are going to be judged, not only by our works, but also by our words. We need to remember that we were designed by a Creator with a special purpose, to cooperate together in building lives and to communicate with each other and with Him. There is a reward when we speak or write good things. We should remember that our words are crucial. Above all, don’t just talk words, live them. It is much easier to say “I love you,” than it is to live “I love you.” Notice, I used the words “creative expression” which can include, not just what you say, but how you live and act.

We can live right and speak right. We have the power and ability to do so because we have been blessed with both of these. We must have the “want to” — the will to want to. We can find ways to express loving, positive things to others. This is part of coping creatively with difficult and discouraging situations. Let us then do so.

My consistent purpose has been to communicate positively and practically, to encourage cooperative endeavor to improve things, but also to encourage others to express themselves in creative ways. I appreciate all of those who have read and learned, spoken and written in response to what I’ve said. Sometimes people have misunderstood my points, thinking that I’ve advanced selfish, even flawed reasoning, and those folks have had the courage to express themselves, sometimes by email, others by phone and a few by words in correspondence or letters to the editor. I want to thank you for responding to these columns.

I want to encourage your artistic expressions. Let me hear from you on what you think about, not just this column, but also about our creative community. What do you think? Share your thoughts with me at drjerryhopkins@yahoo.com. You may also reach me by “snail” mail at Dr. Jerry Hopkins, P. O. Box 1363, Marshall, Texas 75671.

Dr. Jerry Hopkins is a historian and retired university professor.