What is the Meaning of Life
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WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE? Program 72 Why are We Anxious? by Ernest O’Neill
We’re discussing the meaning of life on this program at this time each day. That is, why are we here? What is the purpose of this existence? Why have you ever come into existence? Why are you here? What’s the reason for the existence of this planet?
What we have been sharing, as those of you who have been listening for some months know, is that in order to get an answer to cosmic questions as important and big as this, we really have to find someone who is more than a human being. At least, someone who has been further than our spacemen have been, someone who has been beyond the world that we now live in.
We say this because the other people, the other religious leaders that we have often listened to, all share the same limitations that we share, a limitation on knowledge. They have never been anywhere but this earth. It’s very difficult to expect them to have any kind of information that we don’t possess ourselves, especially in regard to the purpose of the earth’s existence.
It just stands to reason that it’s very difficult for someone within the system to explain the reason for the existence of that system. Of course, there has only been one human being in history who has satisfactorily proven that he has left the earth and has come back to it, and then lived here for more than a month and then disappeared again, going back to, he says, “the presence of the Maker that created the earth in the first place.”
That is that man known as Jesus of Nazareth. You know we’ve been talking about the explanations he gave about our life here on earth. One of the basic statements he made was, “Whatever is born of the flesh is flesh.” That is, what you’ve inherited from your dad and mom is just flesh. It’s going to die in seventy, to ninety, to at the most 100 years.
It cannot ever inherit more than what is flesh. Of course, we know that to our cost, as we’ve watched our friends and our relatives die. We know fine well that we ourselves are going to die someday. Yet, it is interesting, isn’t it, that we keep on trying to produce in this created life some of the attributes that we feel we were made for.
We try to produce the sense of security and stability through having enough possessions, or money, or stocks and shares, or pension schemes – so that we will be able to feel protected from the insecurity and the instability that is around us. That is because we feel we were made for that, don’t we? We feel somehow we were made for the security and stability of heaven.
Yet, it doesn’t matter how hard we try, we never seem able to get to that point. Even if we are a Rockefeller, we never seem able to get to that point where we feel absolutely safe and absolutely secure. Indeed, many of us look back to our childhood days, as Wordsworth did, the English poet.
We think “heaven lies about us in our infancy, shades of the prison house begin to close around the growing boy. At length the man perceives it die away and fade into the light of common day”. It seems we lose the sense of security and stability we used to have when we were little five-year-olds, knowing for sure that our mom or dad would supply our lunch for us every day.
It seems impossible to get back to that degree of security and stability. What Jesus explained to us was, of course, that we never could get that security and stability from things and from this earth and what it produces. We just can’t. We know we can’t, actually. It doesn’t matter how hard we try, we never get free completely from angst, from anxiety.
Quite apart from the fear of the mushroom cloud, which seems at the moment to be receding a little with the arms control agreements that are possible, we never seem to get rid of the angst that is connected up with the fears of depression, fears of the general strike days, fears of not having enough food to eat.
We never seem able to get absolutely free of that sense of insecurity. It seems, indeed, that the insecurity is not just satisfied by a provision of things or a guarantee of money. It seems that the security and stability that we thought we could get, if we had enough material possessions, is something more ephemeral than that and something deeper and more heartfelt than that.
So, we really don’t know what to do, most of us. We have simply committed ourselves to living in this fearfulness and this half uncertainty and this insecurity for the rest of our lives. Jesus, of course, explained to us that the reason we cannot satisfy the security is that it was put there by the Person who made us.
It is so big and is so realistic in its definition that it can only be met by an infinite Person with infinite resources. That is the Person that has made us. He is, in fact, a kindly Creator. He has not put us here to fend for ourselves. He has not stuck us like little flies on this globe that flashes through space hundreds of miles an hour. He has, in fact, continued to overlook us and oversee us.
He actually does know what you’re doing and he knows what your needs are. This is what Jesus said to us, “Therefore, I tell you. Do not be anxious about your life; what you shall eat or what you shall drink. Nor about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food? And the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air. They neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns and yet, your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow. They neither toil nor spin and yet, I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
If God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, oh men of little faith? Therefore, do not be anxious saying, ‘what shall we eat’ or ‘what shall we drink’ or ‘what shall we wear’? For the Gentiles seek all these things and your heavenly Father knows you need them all.
But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things shall be yours as well. Therefore, do not be anxious about tomorrow. For tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day.” In other words, this man Jesus told us that the Creator of the world, who made us, who is his own personal Father, is also our Father and He knows you and He knows what your needs are.
He will provide those needs for you. He may provide them for you as you work at your normal job. He may provide them for you at times through wages or salary. But, actually, you know yourself, there have often been times in your life when the job has failed and money has failed, everything has failed and yet here you are. Here you are, amazing that it is, here you are. When things absolutely fell apart, still somehow or another, you got what you needed.
You may say that it was by the strength of my own right arm, but you know there were many times in your life when you had no strength in your right arm. You weren’t able to get what you needed, and yet, somehow or other, it was supplied. That’s what Jesus is saying. Look! Stop looking to things for your security. You’ll never get enough things to get you the security you need, but your Father, who created you, He knows that you need them, and He’ll be faithful. Look to Him and start depending on Him.