What is the Meaning of Life
God’s Plan for Your Happiness
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WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE? Program 143 God’s Plan for your Happiness by Ernest O’Neill
We’re talking about that age old question, “‘Why?” Why are you here on the earth? Why do you exist? Why did you come into existence? Is there any point or purpose to your life? Is there any reason to your being here? Or are you just a chance speck, thrown up by some wild cosmic clashing of atoms, protons or neutrons billions of years ago, and you will appear like a star for a brief moment, and then die out and never be heard of again? Or, is there some point in your being here?
What we have been talking about is the explanation given by a remarkable human being who lived in the first century of our present era. He was, of course, the man Jesus. He explained that the Creator of the world was His Father. Indeed, He was very different from other people who claimed to be God or claimed to be the Son of God, because they are usually the kind of people you expect to see in a psych ward. They’re utterly unbalanced and unbelievable, but He has always been looked upon as the most balanced character who ever lived.
We, even those who don’t believe in Him, try to get our children to imitate the balance and the sanity of His thinking, His restraint, His honesty, and His concern for others. So, He doesn’t strike you as a fanatic or as a psychotic at all. He strikes you as being real. He, of course, said He was the Son of the Maker of the universe. He explained, as we mentioned yesterday, that the whole purpose in your being here was to begin to trust your Father who made you, who is the maker of the universe. He is really your Father.
He actually knows you. That’s what Jesus said. He said the Creator has something for you to do in your life that only you can do. You can learn from Him what this is as you come to know Him intimately.
Now, if this is true, then obviously, your life has purpose and has reason to it. But, most of us have decided, “No! We’re not going to risk that kind of thing. We’re not going to risk believing that some invisible Creator knows why I’m here. I’m not going to chance this. I’m going to find out what I want to do with this life myself, and make what I can of it, and look at the world as ‘my oyster’ and get what I need from it.”
Now, what we said yesterday was, we never take that attitude when we join a company. We don’t get into some little corner of the factory, or get into our own little office and say, “I’m not going to listen to the president of the company. I’m not going to listen to the boss. I’m not going to listen to the foreman or manager. I’m just going to do what I want to do in this factory. I’m going to try to use the resources of it to get what I need in the way of money and food and clothing, and let the rest do what they want.”
We don’t say this! Not for a moment — because we all believe that the factory will, in fact, only benefit us if the general purpose of the factory is fulfilled — if it manufactures what it’s meant to manufacture. In other words, unless we all join together in some kind of teamwork, we won’t get a penny out of it. So, we, most of us, are utterly dependent on somebody telling us what to do and how we can fit into the whole scheme.
That obviously, is the same situation here in the universe. Obviously, somebody knows why this whole thing was created, I mean, somebody knows why you were given your abilities. You have some abilities. You may sit there and say, “Oh, I have no abilities.” But you do have some. You have some things you can do that others can’t do quite the same way.
Indeed, the amazing thing is that you’re absolutely unique, if you’ve ever thought about it. Even if you’re an
identical twin, you’re still in some way different from your identical twin. You have an attitude to life, a way of thinking about things, and a way of doing things even your identical twin doesn’t. If you’re not an identical twin, of course, you’re even more obviously unique. There’s been nobody ever like you in the whole world. There never will be anybody like you in the whole world. You’re a one off. You’re the only “you” who has ever or will ever exist.
The fact is you can only fulfill the plan that was formed for you if you listen to the person who put you here with that plan in mind. But, most of us, of course, don’t do that. We say, “Forget it! I’m going to live my own life. I don’t know if there’s a God or not. I’m just going to concentrate on getting what I can in the way of food and clothing and a shelter over my head from this world. I’m going to make my own way in life.” That’s, of course, what most of us do.
The result is very frustrating. It’s great futility that we meet, because we find the other five billion of us are trying to do the same thing. They’re trying to get the food and the shelter and the clothing they need, instead of depending on the Creator of the world to keep His promise that He would add all those other things unto us if we would concentrate on finding out what He had put us here to do. We instead try to get all the food and shelter and clothing that we need, but the other five billion are doing the same. So, it makes for quite a bit of competition.
So, most of us live lives of worry and anxiety. Over what? Over the big issues of life? No, over food, shelter, and clothing. That’s it. It was old Auden, you remember, who said, “In headaches and in worry, vaguely life leaks away.” That is true. Most of us leak life away in headaches and in worry. The headaches and worry are usually over how to get more money — more pounds or more dollar — so we can get more permanent life insurance or a better home, or pay the mortgage off, or get better clothes, or get a better car, or get a stack of food that will never run out. We are spending our lives usually trying to find those purely animal needs which will just keep us alive.
If you ever ask why we’re staying alive, we would be forced to answer that we’re staying alive so we can stay alive. We’re staying alive so we can get more money so we can keep ourselves alive a bit longer. It’s an absolutely vicious circle in our thinking. But most of us answer that way. The amazing thing is, we don’t even achieve the purposes that we set out to achieve, because we never do somehow seem to get to a position of security.
It’s incredible, but more especially, those of us who live in the West, we probably are some of the most insecure people in the whole world, in spite of the fact that we have more than everybody else has. We never, somehow, reach a point of security. The reason is that security comes not from us being able to grab enough food, shelter and clothing, because we never can do that.
If we do grab it, we can never ensure somebody won’t take it away from us. But, security doesn’t come from getting those things; security comes from knowing there is someone who has control of all those things, and who is the controller of the distribution of them, and He cares about us and loves us, and is concerned about us. That’s where security comes from.
In other words, the last time most of us had security was when we were five years old, and we could trust our dad and mum always to supply us with lunch when we needed it. That’s really the only source of security. So, most of us try to get the security from the world and the things in it, from the money in it, or from the food in it, or from the homes in it, or from the clothes in it, but we really never do manage to make that. We live in constant insecurity.
We feel very insignificant. There are five billion others who are equally unique and believe they’re unique. Except, they’re in the same position as us. They wonder why the rest of us don’t see how unique they are. Of course, the rest of us don’t see how unique they are, because we’re all so preoccupied with our own uniqueness, which we’re afraid may not be as unique as we think it is. In actual fact, it is. But our uniqueness comes not from all the others recognizing we’re unique, but from the Maker of the world who made us unique.
Once we lose touch with Him, of course, we lose that sense of our own uniqueness. So we spend our lives trying to make an impression on the world, and trying to establish a little niche in the Hall of Fame for us, so that somebody who didn’t remember Bing Crosby, didn’t remember John Wayne, doesn’t remember Churchill too well, will somehow remember us. Of course, they never do!
So, we end up in tremendous frustration, trying to get from the world of things and people what we are meant to get from the Maker of the world Himself. Let’s talk a little more about that tomorrow.