The Meaning of Life (Pt 1)
Updated: Jul 24, 2020
Last week I was stressed to the brink. I think a lot of people get that way right before Christmas, but it's true, I was stressed. I was certain I hadn't bought enough Christmas gifts for my kids. I definitely didn't get enough for my husband. I never did get my lights put up. I had 3 kids Christmas concerts, 2 children's Christmas parties, 2 adult Christmas parties, and I had to babysit for a third party. I was going out of my mind with the "crazy Christmas customers" at work. Something about this time of year makes people lose their minds. Regardless of all of that, the point is that I was overwhelmed and starting to lose it. I will admit I said some pretty nasty and untrue things to several people in my life and then had to go and take it back later. I was counting down the days until Christmas over. I survived this Holiday season. Now let's fast forward a week.
This morning I got up for work. I got my kids dressed, still asleep they went into the car. I had 2 boiled eggs and an apple for breakfast. My kids when they got up had a granola bar each. My oldest also had 2 chocolate coins from his stocking, my baby ate a Rice Krispy treat. Who cares right? Well I have a point here. The overwhelming crazy of Christmas or the monotony of what I ate for breakfast, in the long run it's all the same, it doesn't actually matter. Fast forward a week, a month, a year, a life time, who remembers what they got for Christmas of 2019. Do you remember what you had for breakfast 1 week ago?
The meaning of life is one of those things you hear people talk about, especially as they get older. You start to realize that life must have some kind of purpose, otherwise what's the point? You are born, you grow up, get married, have kids, live your life, and you die. And then your kids grow up and live and they die. And your grandkids die. And by the time you get 3 or 4 generations down the line, there is a good chance that no one even remembers your name, let alone your accomplishments and accolades, your highs and lows. And then, 4 generations deep now the year 2150, who remembers or cares whether or not we had the perfect gifts on Christmas 2019. Who remembers or cares if I was feeling overwhelmed or swamped, who even remembers my name?
Thinking about all of this I really start to understand Solomon when he says “Meaningless! Meaningless Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” (Ecclesiastes 1:2) It's true, it is meaningless. Why are we here? Why would God put us onto an earth where we live, we accomplish, we labor and work to make our money or make our fame or gain our power, for what? To die and leave it to the next generation, who in turn will die and leave it to the next generation and so on, until finally the person spending the hard earned fruits of your labor doesn't even remember your name, let alone your loves, your life and your passions.
Ecclesiates 1:3 - 11 What do people gain from all their labors at which they toil under the sun? Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever. The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises. The wind blows to the south and turns to the north;round and round it goes, ever returning on its course. All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full.To the place the streams come from, there they return again. All things are wearisome, more than one can say.The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing. What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which one can say, “Look! This is something new”?It was here already, long ago; it was here before our time. No one remembers the former generations, and even those yet to come will not be remembered by those who follow them.
Amen, and yes, I couldn't say it any better than that. We all live, we all die, we are all completely forgotten, it is all utterly meaningless. So again, the question at hand, What then is the meaning of life? Why did God even bother with all of this. Why did he put us here on this earth to live this life, die and be completely forgotten? The answer is so simple, which is why so many MANY people completely miss it. We are here to praise God, by our own free will. Let's break that down a little.
God is the creator. And he has created many many creatures. He created all of the creatures of our world, animals, plants, fish, birds. He created all of the creatures of the heavens Cherubim, Seraphim, and the Four Living creatures of the heavens. He created it all, and all of these things were created for the same purpose, to praise God. So then what makes humans different? Why did he create us and put us on this planet and make us live out this meaningless tortured life, just to die and either be reunited with him in glory or separated from him eternally? What makes human beings different and completely unique is free will. The reason we are on this earth living our lives is free will. We, unlike the sheep of the field and the angels in the heavens, we human beings have free will to CHOOSE whether or not we will love and praise our creator. Angels don't have this choice, if they don't praise our creator they are tossed into darkness of hell to live as demons separated from the glory of our Lord. Animals don't have a choice either, they live, they die, they are here for human use, they glorify God in servitude to his creation, humans. Humans, on the other hand, we are the only of God's creation given the gift and burden of choosing for ourselves whether we will love and praise our Creator, or not.
Now understand, when I say we are here to praise God, I am not talking about singing everywhere you go (although maybe you are that person). I am talking about praising God through our lives, through our choices and our actions, through our love for our neighbors, through living out the instruction manual that Christ gave us. This is about loving your neighbor, this is about forgiving 70 times 7 times, this is about turning the other cheek, this is about living a God filled life. We don't have to be perfect, that is why God sent Christ to die for us, so that we don't have to be perfect. It isn't about perfection. It is about loving God so wholly that all you can do is worship him. Loving our Creator so fully that the only thing that even matters is that love. It's about praising him with everything in you, because everything in you is all you have to give, which is nothing! Meaningless! Your meaningless, useless, unmemorable life is all that you have, it's about giving that, all that you have, to God to praise him. That's the meaning of life. Praising God.
So how can you take this knowledge and apply it to your meaningless life? Read on in Part 2.