A man named Bill Mallory travelled to India to discover the purpose of life. But he didn’t find the answer there. So after returning, he noticed a sign at a Texaco petrol station that simply said, “As you travel, ask us.” So every time he pulled into a Texaco station, he would look to the sign and say, “I’m a traveller. I’d like to ask you a question: What is the purpose of life?”
The first man said, “Sorry. I’m new here.” The second guy said, “I don’t remember anything in the manual about that.” Another guy said, “I’m not much for church myself, sir.” Most people just gave him a blank stare, cleaned his windscreen; but he kept asking at all the Texaco stations.
One day Mallory got a phone call from Texaco Customer Relations. They said, “We understand you’ve been asking our dealers questions and getting unsatisfactory answers.” The man suggested that he write out his question and send it to Texaco Corporate with a self-addressed stamped envelope. So Bill Mallory wrote “What is the purpose of life?” and sent it to Texaco Petrol Company. A couple of weeks later, the envelope was returned. Inside was an application for a credit card! Why is that we don’t know what life is all about, or where we are going in life?
The Beatles released their Rubber Soul album in 1965 and on it was John Lennon’s “Nowhere Man”. You might know the words:
He’s a real nowhere man
Sitting in his nowhere land
Making all his nowhere plans for nobody
Doesn’t have a point of view
Knows not where he’s going to
Isn’t he a bit like you and me?
Is Better Education a Universal Remedy?
How many of us are like the ‘nowhere man’, not knowing where we are going in life, and wondering what life is all about. I think this is a very important matter and we need a little time to think about it. It seems many say today that if you get a good education, everything will be fine. Your life will turn out well. A better education will straighten everything out. Really? I’m afraid it doesn’t.
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Malcolm Muggeridge used to say that ”education is prescribed as a universal remedy for everything from juvenile delinquency to premature senility”. “But for the most part it serves”, he said, “to enlarge stupidity and inflate conceit”. Maybe he was exaggerating things a bit, but his point is correct. Education, as valuable as it is, is not the solution to everything. There are limits to what human thinking can do. It can’t straighten out what is twisted by sin. If there is something really missing in our lives, who can tell us what it is?
“Your mind was made to know and love God.” John Piper
We cannot rely on education or brain power to solve all our problems or to find out all we need to know. Often more knowledge makes us more miserable and we don’t know why. And what about our jobs and employment? If it seems boring and monotonous, does that mean we’re better off doing nothing? No. That would make us lazy, foolish and empty. We need to be fulfilled inside, deep in our hearts.
Don’t Waste Your Life
I believe the issue is this: we ignore God in our life. Our purpose in life is much larger than you or me, our jobs or personal goals or what we have accomplished. After all, life is very short. We can become burned out from the trials of daily living. When life loses its zest, relationships you used to treasure don’t seem very important anymore. You find yourself giving too much and getting too little. Too much is flowing out and too little flowing in.
John Piper wrote his book Don’t Waste Your Life. Here’s what he said: “Desire that your life count for something great! Long for your life to have eternal significance. Want this! Don’t coast through life without a passion. The really wonderful moments of joy in this world are not the moments of self-satisfaction, but self-forgetfulness. Standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon and contemplating your own greatness is pathological. At such moments we are made for a magnificent joy that comes from outside ourselves.” “Don’t be surprised. There is nothing new under the sun. Only endless re-packagings.” “Your mind was made to know and love God.”
(Read Nowhere Man – Part 2)