By Chris WittsTuesday 22 Jul 2014Morning Devotions with Chris WittsUncategorizedReading Time: 0 minutes
I recall seeing the movie “City Slickers” where actors Jack Palance and Billy Crystall are talking together. Jack asks Billy “Do you know what the secret of life is? I ‘ll tell you ..one thing – just one thing. You stick to that and everything else don’t mean anything”. Billy then said “Yeah,but what’s the one thing?” And Jack Palance says ” ah well,that’s what you’ve got to figure out”. He wasn’t much help,was he .. and I have a feeling many people are in that situation,and are looking for the main purpose to life. Our lives need context,a need for meaning,a larger narrative in which our own personal story makes sense. It was author Robert Byrne who put it in very simple terms “the purpose of life is a life of purpose”.
When Aristotle was asked about the meaning of life he said it was to be aware of yourself. A devout Christian lady aged 94 attends a Lutheran church,and she was asked why she still went to church every week at her age. “Because it helps me to be a better person”. I like that response because it’s so positive and encouraging. Other people say things like .. “A happy life means to love each other and help each other. We should respect ourselves and everyone else. With all my friends around me,my life is so meaningful”
We see many people who are very busy running this way and that .. busy with work,family and recreation .. will I be remembered in 100 years? Does my life make any sense at all? Do you ever wake up wondering is this all there is? Do you struggle to find meaning and fulfilment each day? I think many people do – they are confused,trying to find answers. We look to the wrong source for our security.
To feel really secure,we need to look to God our Heavenly Father. That’s where true meaning,security and purpose comes from. He is our Creator and Father who provides us with love and acceptance. The Bible talks a lot about His unconditional love. Why? To give us security. It means He created us for a purpose – to love and serve Him now and into eternity. Now that’s true significance. If I know I am secure and significant,nothing anybody says to me will destroy that fact. It’s not about how I feel .. it’s what God’s Word says to me that is factual. Jesus said,”I am the door “… “I came that they may have life,and have it abundantly.” So,Jesus is the secret of a meaningful life. And,as simple as it sounds,it is entirely correct. But it reminds me of the man who saw a bumper sticker that said,”Jesus is the answer,” and he said,”So what’s the question?”
What does it mean to say Jesus is the secret to meaningful life? Jesus said,”I came that you may have life and have it abundantly” in the context of having just said,”I am the good shepherd.” He is saying that he is the one who can take care of our lives and make them meaningful. The meaning of life is not about figuring things out or having things. Finding meaning comes in being sheep of the good shepherd.
The secret of life is not trying to find the secret ourselves,but trusting God to give it to us. So why don’t more people find meaningful lives and why we have so many varied opinions on the meaning of life? A third of the world’s population claims they believe in Jesus. But most of them are really trying to make their own lives meaningful. The secret of life is in letting go and letting God. It means not trying to find or make the meaning ourselves,but in trusting God to give it to us. God gives us forgiveness and grace and hope and endurance in times of pain,comfort in times of grief. If we will let go and let God take care of us,then we can live all the seasons of life,the good and the bad,with meaning and purpose and peace.
So,this is why our days are dark and empty,if we don’t have a relationship with God. No matter how much excitement we experience or how much pleasure we enjoy. No matter how successful we are,there is still something missing. As Augustine said,He who has God has everything. He who does not have God has nothing. He who has God and everything has no more than he who has God alone.
And,you see,when Jesus came to earth and died on the cross,He made it possible for us to have this relationship with God that we so desperately need. As He said in John 10:10,Jesus came so that we might,…have life…life in all it’s fullness.
So,the only way off the treadmill of meaninglessness is to be in this personal relationship with God that Jesus makes possible. As C. S. Lewis once said,”God cannot give us happiness and peace apart from Himself because there is no such thing.” This is why Paul wrote the church in Philippi and said,”I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of KNOWING Christ Jesus my Lord.” (Philippians 3:8). Paul discovered that when we give our hearts and lives to Jesus and then enter in to a growing love relationship with God life looks different-better-fuller-more beautiful-somehow. Have you ever heard the old song that goes,
There were bells on the hill,but I never heard them ringing .No,I never heard them at all,till there was you. There were stars in the sky but I never saw them shining ..No,I never saw them at all,till there was you.
That song is from The Music Man and if you’ve ever seen that popular musical then you know this song is sung by Professor Harold Hill,a cynical con artist who goes from town to town swindling people out of their money. But then,he goes to Iowa and meets a lovely young woman who causes him to develop a whole new appreciation for life. Suddenly he sees beauty in the world that he had never noticed before.
Well,a relationship with God through Jesus has the same effect on us,though to a MUCH GREATER extent. As you get closer to the Lord you discover a level of joy that you never knew before. Even the common things of life become filled with meaning. A beautiful landscape is more than just nature; it is God’s creation for you to enjoy as His child. Your relationships with other people are more than social interaction; you see them as chances to impact lives for eternity. Your work becomes much more than a paycheck; it is God’s calling on your life. Even trials and tribulations take on meaning as you see them as other chances for God to provide. A relationship with God through Jesus gives us greater appreciation for ALL areas of life.