What is the Meaning of Life
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WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE? Program 91 We Are God’s Friends by Ernest O’Neill
What’s the most valuable present you’ve ever received? Can you think through it, all your birthdays and anniversaries, and the special rewards you got for achieving different things? What would you say was the most valuable present you’ve ever received?
I don’t know, we’d all have different answers. You might say, “Oh, the bicycle I got when I was nineteen”, or “The motor bike I bought when I was twenty two”, or “The first new car I got”, or “Really, a present has meant more to me than even what I’ve bought myself”. “The gift of books that I got when I was eight years of age”, or “The silver watch I was given when I was twenty one”, or “The gold earrings with diamonds that I got when I was twenty five.” We probably all have different answers to that question. But, what is the most valuable thing you’ve ever been given?
What would you say it is? You know when we put the question like this, we answer, “Well, life. Life is the most valuable thing I’ve been given. Without it, I couldn’t see the earrings. I couldn’t ride the bike. I couldn’t smell the flowers. I wouldn’t be here. I wouldn’t have consciousness. I wouldn’t even be able to think and answer this question if I didn’t have life. That’s the most valuable thing I’ve been given, and that’s the most valuable thing I’ll ever lose.”
If I ask you, “Well, are there other things connected with life that you regard as valuable?” Then, you begin to think of the things you couldn’t replace, however much insurance money you got. Of course, you begin to answer, “Well, yes, I mean the eyes that I have, the ability to see colors and shapes and forms; the sense of touch I have. I cannot only feel the Venus de Milo [statue], but I can feel the grass and I can feel the smoothness of water.
Touch and smell! There’s the ability to smell the daffodils and smell the roses, the ability to smell a spring morning in April. Those things are the most precious things I have ever been given. Also, there’s the ability to think, to connect up a sense of smell with a sense of shape and a sense of color. The ability to think and reason. Those are the most valuable things that I’ve ever been given. But, I don’t think of those as things that I’ve been given. I mean, I’ve been born with them.”
If I said to you, “Well, where did they come from?” You know that you have to draw the same conclusion that we’ve been drawing over these months as we’ve been talking about the meaning of life. These things did not just happen.
If you went into Tiffany’s in New York, and you bought a pair of silver earrings for your wife, and you said to the clerk, or you said to the assistant behind the counter, “Where did these come from?” and he said, “I don’t know where they came from. I have no idea. They just happened! They just happened.” You’d say to him, “Well, good! I don’t need to pay for them if they just happened.”
No, you’d look across at him and say, “You are dumb! Of course, these came from somewhere. They didn’t just happen. Look! You can see how intricately they’re made and how carefully they’ve been designed. You can see the silver, the way it’s been formed and shaped. You can see the way these things have been put together. Only hands, human hands could put these together. Only a human brain could think of this. There’s an intelligent being of some kind behind this.”
Of course, that’s what we’ve said about incredible cameras like the eyes that focus far more efficiently than even the latest electronic device we have implanted in our most recent cameras. We’re bound to conclude that these things have not just happened. These have been given to us.
And of course, that is what we’ve been talking about over these months, you remember. We’ve been saying it’s obvious that these things have been given to us. Somebody has given us these gifts, these presents that are among the most precious — indeed, are the most precious that we have ever received in our lives. So, we have been saying that the presents we have been given are evidence that there is an intelligent mind behind the universe.
You remember how we’ve followed that down through the evidence in history, especially in the first century, of there being a remarkable person called Jesus of Nazareth, who really obviously knew more than this present world. He had seemingly been beyond this world into outer space and returned to tell us what kind of being was out there. He said this being was his Father and had created all this, and had given us all this.
Of course, what we’ve been sharing over recent weeks is, the reason all these presents were given to us is because the person that gave us them thinks about us and cares about us. Indeed, what this man, Jesus, said about the Creator is that He has numbered even the hairs of your head. So, the Being who made you, and that designed your eyes, and that designed your arm and your leg — that Being has counted even the hairs of your head. That’s how much He thinks of you.
He thinks so much of you, that He has done what nobody else in all creation, even your mother, has done. He has counted the very hairs of your head because He cares about you, and He loves you. That’s why He’s given you presents.
Actually, you know that. The reason you give a person presents is either to get something out of them, or, really, usually it’s because you love them, and you care for them. You express your concern to them and your appreciation and your value of them by the presents you give to them.
So, it’s the same. The Being behind the universe has not given you your eyes just because He likes to see eyes working, or just because He likes to see a nose smelling, or because He has some impersonal, insane delight in seeing an arm lift a suitcase. He has given you those abilities and those powers because He wants you to enjoy the things that He enjoys. He wants you to be His friend, and to know Him, and to understand the universe the way He understands it, and to begin to enjoy what He has made with Him.
That’s why the Creator of the universe made you. That’s why He has given you these gifts. His desire has been that you and I would live our lives in friendship with Him. That is, we’d start each day — you remember the way we illustrated it, as if it was Adam — we’d start each day listening to Him, and knowing His mind and understanding how He was looking at our world, how He regarded our office, how He regarded the factory that we worked in, how He looked upon the home where we spent our whole day.
We would begin to see things the way He sees them and would have such an intuitive oneness with Him, that not only like Einstein would we begin to think His thoughts after Him, but we would know what He wanted us to do day by day and moment by moment. That is His will. That’s why He gave us these presents. His plan was that we should walk through the world with Him beside us, as our friend — that we would know Him intuitively in our thought life, and that He would feed His ideas down to us — not as if we were robots! That’s why He made us with free wills. He doesn’t want robots.
But He made us with our free wills so we could be His willing friends. That’s the purpose of giving us all of
these gifts. Now, what have we done with those? Well, you know yourself what you’ve done. I know what I’ve done. We don’t even need to go back to the early chapters of Genesis in the Bible to find out what we’ve done. We know what we’ve done. We decided, “Forget it!”
We don’t need to depend on some invisible Creator, who may not even be there. We don’t need to depend on somebody else telling us what He thinks. Ever since we were kids or children and rebelling against our parents, we know we want to be our own men. We want to be our own women. We want to use this world as if it is our particular oyster shell, and we want to choose the oyster that we need from it.
So, we’ve decided to go our own way. And because we’ve gone our own way, we’ve started to miss the great sense of love that our Creator made us to experience. He did! He made us for love. That’s it. It’s not just a ploy by a psychologist or a psychiatrist. It’s not just the old story, “Oh, you don’t want to be dependent or need a father figure.” The fact is, reality is reality. We are not independent creatures. You’re very dependent. You’ve been carried into this world. You’ll be carried out.
You’ll be looked after while you’re in it, and things will happen during this life that you can’t explain, and incredible things take place that enable you to go on living that you cannot understand. So, we’re very dependent. We’re obviously dependent if you think of the people in Australia, who are utterly dependent on the power of gravity that holds them on the earth.
In so many ways, we’re absolutely dependent on this Creator. He has made us for His love. Let’s talk a little more about that tomorrow.