What is the Meaning of Life
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WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE? Program 142 Rejecting God by Ernest O’Neill
We’re talking about the question, “Why are we alive? Why are you here? Why are you spending seventy or eighty years on this planet? What’s the purpose of your life? What’s the point of your being here? How did you get here? Whose idea was it to put you here? Are you just a chance speck thrown up by the floods of time? Or, is there some point in your being here?” That’s the question we’re trying to talk about.
We’ve mentioned that lots of people have attempted to tell us all why we’re here, but they all seem to be rather suspicious characters, to say the least of it. They are either gurus that are trying to make money out of us. Or, they’re fanatics who think of themselves as some great person. There is only one who stands head and shoulders above the rest, and is very different from them. He was a man, of course, that not only said He was doing the exact actions and saying the exact words the Creator of the universe wanted Him to say, but, in fact, He did live that kind of life.
Even His greatest enemies said they found no fault in Him. The Roman soldier who was responsible for killing Him said, “This man certainly was the Son of God.” So, even His enemies attested to the fact He not only taught the highest ethic the world has ever heard, but He lived it. The most important thing that sets Him apart from people like Zoroaster and Confucius and Buddha and the others who claim to be able to tell us what reality is and why we’re here, the one thing that sets Him apart from them all, is that, though they all died like dogs and were buried like the rest of us, then were overcome by death — this man kept on saying He would die, but on the third day, He would get up from being dead.
That’s exactly what He did. He lived for more than a month, and appeared thirteen or fourteen times after that in different places. Then, He appeared not as a ghost, but appeared in ways that His followers, and about five hundred people at one time who saw Him, could tell He was actually real. He ate breakfast with them and let them put their fingers in the holes the nails had made in His hands when He was crucified. All this is recorded in manuscripts that are earlier and better in their evidence than any manuscripts concerning a person of that particular time in history.
In other words, when you go to the British Museum and you see a manuscript like the Codex Alexandrinus or the Codex Sinaiticus, or you go to the Manchester University Museum, and you see the Chester Beattie papyrus that is dated 125 A.D., which is just a mere 25 or 30 years after one of His followers who knew Him personally died, you find there is better documentation and better historical evidence for the existence of this man than any other figure of that time, and better than for most historical figures.
So, it’s necessary, if you’re honest and intellectually honest, to admit that this man did live, and did die, and certainly all of history points to the fact that He got up from being dead, and He had power to come into life and go out of it whenever He wanted to. This man, Jesus, explained to us why we were alive. Of course, we’ve been studying His explanation for some weeks, indeed, some months now.
You remember, one of the things He said was that we were made by His Father, the Creator of the universe, to live off His Father. That is, to live off the confidence that His Father actually knew you and planned your creation, and knows your name. This man, Jesus, said His Father even has numbered the hairs of your head. Now, of course, even your mum or your dad hasn’t counted the hairs of your head. Even if you’re beginning to get a little bald, you know that nobody has ever done this. Probably, nobody ever will do it. Yet, this man, Jesus, said the Creator who made you has counted even the hairs of your head. He knows you as intimately as that.
In other words, you have not been thrown on this earth by chance, but He planned for you to be here. He planned for you to be here so that you would begin to live off Him. That is, live off His love. Now, of course, you may say, “Well, you can’t live off love! You have to get some of the old shekels [money]in order to survive.” Yes, but He promised if you would seek first His kingdom, that is, the domain of the king, the rule of the king in your own life, if you would concentrate on letting Him explain to you what He wanted you to do with your life and why He had put you here in the world, if you would concentrate on that, then He would add (this man Jesus said) all other things unto you.
He would take care of all the things that you needed. In fact, Jesus put it rather bluntly. He said, “Don’t be anxious about your life, what you’ll eat or what you’ll drink or what you’ll put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than raiment? Look at the lilies of the field. They don’t sow nor gather into barns. And yet, Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now, if God so clothes the grass of the field which today is alive and tomorrow is cast into the fire, will He not much more clothe you?”
Then, He explained what the problem with you and me is. He said, “Will He not much more clothe you, O men of little faith?” He said the same about food. He said, “Look at the birds of the air. They don’t sow or reap. They don’t do those things. Yet, your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of much more value than many sparrows? Yet, not a sparrow falls to the ground but your heavenly Father knows.”
So, Jesus said we shouldn’t be anxious about those things. He said that everybody’s anxious about those things, but your heavenly Father knows you have need of them. So, don’t be anxious. Have no anxiety for anything. But concentrate on finding out what He wants you to do with your life and on doing it, and you’ll find that He, by hook or by crook, will add all these other things unto you. If you do that, you’ll develop more and more in your trust of Him, and in your knowledge of Him. As you do that, you’ll become more and more like Him.
As you become more like Him, you’ll be fit for the development of the whole universe He has planned for us after we get out of this present life. Jesus explained that most of us have just turned our back on that kind of stuff. We have decided, “Forget it! We’re not going to depend on some Creator up there who may come through or may not come through.” We have determined, actually, we’re not going to trust Him. We have determined, “No! We’re going to trust ourselves. We’re going to make our own way in this world.”
So, we have concentrated on trying to get what we need from the world itself and forget all about this Creator and forget about this stuff of trying to find out His will for our lives, and trying to find out what He wants us to do and why He has put us here. We’ve decided we’re going to make it on our own.
Now, of course, it’s the dumbest thing in the world. You and I know it. I mean, it wouldn’t work that way in a factory. If you go and you join some firm after you graduate from college or university, or after you get out of school, you certainly don’t get into some corner of the factory and say, “Ah, I’m not going to trust the boss. I’m not going to do what he wants me to do. I can’t depend on him knowing what is right for me to do in my life. I’m going to get into this little corner, and I’m going to try to use the resources of this factory to make what I need for myself.”
Well, it wouldn’t work. It’s dumb! It just won’t work. But, we have decided to do that with our own lives. Most of us are trying to make it without Him. Let’s talk tomorrow about the effects of that.