The meaning of life?
I have been challenged (again) by the repeated question from my grade six school children –
“What is the meaning of life?”
This is a good question, yet on a human level, so difficult to answer. Is life designed grow and then be snuffed out in death? Perhaps dedication to a good cause will make life meaningful? Should we live for our family? Why not just live for self? Could it be that the greatest purpose is to evangelize the people around us?
Evolutionary thinking supports the idea of the survival of the fittest – so that by every means possible we should to be better and stronger than others. (sport fosters this notion). The atheist proposition is pointless, presenting humanity as animals who are the result of meaningless chance.
This gives no cause to be here and no hope for the future. I could comment on other religious and philosophical perspectives, but I forebear. Ultimately we find all is vanity and meaningless unless we account for a supreme being with creative power and genius, sufficient to give purpose and meaning to history, to the present existence and future hope.
As we turn to the Bible as our compass, what is the answer? Many scriptures speak on this subject. I will select a few.
The Bible book of Ecclesiastes records a wealthy, prominent, skilled king trying everything available to solve this problem. It is worth reading through his writings to see his search in science, social order, lust of flesh and eyes, work, construction etc etc. His first conclusion:-
“There is nothing worthwhile anywhere”
“All is vanity and vexation of spirit”
His final conclusion :- “Fear God and obey His commands, for this is the duty of every person.”
The Lord Jesus identified one of the great purposes of His life :- “I came here not to be served, but to serve, and to give my life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10.45)”
For those who follow Jesus Christ as Lord this does give real meaning to life.
I come to a great speech given at a university in Athens many years ago:-
Acts 17.24 “ God who made the world and everything in it. Since He is Lord of heaven and earth, He doesn’t live in man made temples, and human hands can’t serve his needs – for He has no needs. He Himself gives life and breath to everything and He satisfies every need there is. From one man He created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand which should rise and fall and He determined their boundaries.
His purpose in all of this was that the nations should seek God and perhaps feel their way toward Him and find Him – though He is not far from any one of us. For in Him we live and move and exist.”
How clear this is - the meaning of life is to seek and know God!
I turn to the last book of the Bible (Revelation 4:11)
“You are worthy O Lord our God
To receive glory and honour and power
For you created everything
And it is for your pleasure that they exist and were created.”
If then it is true that all things exist for God, then we exist for God – what meaning does that give to life as individuals?
Ours is the opportunity now to know God, the only true God and Jesus Christ, the one He sent to reconcile the world back to Himself. (John 17.3)
I say from 50 years of Christian living, there is no greater joy or sense of fulfilment, than to connect with God through His Son Jesus Christ our Lord. The greatest form of identity in the vast universe is to discover that I am “the disciple whom Jesus loved/loves” the true meaning of life.
Have you settled for some lesser purpose in life?
Sure there is much more to be done in life, but I do think we should get our priorities sorted.
This is for all – rich and poor, slave and free, male and female, child and adult, educated and illiterate.
Let us each one seek Him today.