In Search of the Meaning of Life

purpose of lifeHow can we find fulfillment and satisfaction in life? How can we achieve something of lasting significance? Philosophers have debated the meaning of life for years, but for many their search for meaning has been elusive.

Have you ever asked yourself what the purpose for being here on this earth is? Alexis Zorbas, the character of Kazantzakis’ novel “Zorba the Greek”, agonized its meaning.

Alexis Zorba: Why do the young die? Why does anybody die?

Basil: I don’t know.

Alexis Zorba: What’s the use of all your damn books if they can’t answer that?

Basil: They tell me about the agony of men who can’t answer questions like yours.

Alexis Zorba: I spit on this agony!

“It is the great standing perennial problem to which human reason is as far from an answer as ever.”[1] Even King Solomon, portrayed in the Bible as great in wisdom and the author of the Book of Ecclesiastes exclaims “Meaningless! Meaningless! Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless. What do people gain from all their labors at which they toil under the sun?”[2] It is an age old question. King Solomon had wealth beyond measure, had hundreds of women (700 wives and 300 concubines to be precise), denied himself nothing his eyes desired, refused his heart no pleasure, took delight in all his work, yet when he surveyed all that his hands had done and what he had toiled to achieve, still he said “Everything is meaningless”. His search for meaning was akin to chasing after the wind.

Many of us try to find meaning by pursuing success, wealth, good relationships, and entertainment, and perhaps for a short time some do find satisfaction, but life is destined to remain unsatisfying and meaningless apart from having a relationship with God.

And if life is meaningless, is not then death meaningless also?

For many, life is tragic, boring or futile. “It is sad to think that the purpose of life is just to stay alive, that we are in truth nothing but poor bees, destined to accomplish our task and then die.”[3] Charles M. Schulz, cartoonist best known for his comic strip Peanuts said “I don’t know the meaning of life. I don’t know why we are here. I think life is full of anxieties and fears and tears. It has a lot of grief in it, and it can be very grim. And I do not want to be the one who tries to tell somebody else what life is all about. To me it’s a complete mystery.”[4]

Even computers have been employed to search for “The Answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything”.
“ReaLLLLLLy?”
In the farcical book by Douglas Adams, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Universe, the answer to the age old question is derived by a powerful supercomputer named Deep Thought. For almost 7.5 million years the computer crunched data using highly sophisticated logic and computational algorithms.
Then, one day, Voila!
“The envelope please” (pause).
“The Ultimate Answer to Life, The Universe and Everything is…42!”

If you understood the answer, then I am amazed.
“42 is all the numbers added up on two dice. So the meaning of life, the universe, and everything else is: The Fall of the Dice.” – Anonymous
I can’t believe that nobody picked up on that!

What then is the true meaning of life? Is it possible that our destiny, our purpose in life, is merely left to chance?

Max Lucado, Christian author with over 80 million copies of his books in print, answers  — “Philosophers can debate the meaning of life, but you need a Lord who can declare the meaning of life.”[5]

The disenchanted, “done it all” tone of the Book of Ecclesiastes is concluded by King Solomon in the last chapter of the book. King Solomon looks back on his folly with regret, concluding that it is better to “Fear God and keep his commandments, because this applies to every person.”[6] All things would be meaningless, except they led to this conclusion. Nothing is by coincidence, everything is purposed by God. Bring all your thoughts into submission to God by the renewing of your mind. “Then you will always be able to determine what God really wants-what is good, pleasing, and perfect”[7]. And we know that if we have been called according to His purpose, all things work together for good to them that love God (Romans 8:28). Our purpose in life, therefore, as God originally intended it to be is to glorify Him, love Him, and serve Him. Only by restoring that relationship can purpose in life be rediscovered. Proverbs 8:35 says “Whoever finds me finds life and obtains favor from the LORD”.[8]

Copyright 2015 by Bill Hutzel

OTHER REFERENCES

God has given us His Word and His Spirit to guide, sustain and empower us. “The Bible is what we need, and it is sufficient for our needs. How necessary it is for us to know what the Bible says!”[9] — in order to find meaning to our life.

“He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? But to act justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” ― Micah 6:8

“God is the inevitability of humanity’s search for true meaning”.[10]

100 Bible verses about Purpose in Life – http://www.openbible.info/topics/purpose_in_life

 

FOOTNOTES

[1] Arthur Conan Doyle The Adventure of the Cardboard Box

[2] Book of Ecclesiastes 1:2-3 (NIV)

[3] Muriel Barbery, The Elegance of the Hedgehog

[4] Charles M. Schulz, Charles M. Schulz: Conversations

[5] Max Lucado in Traveling Light: Releasing the Burdens You Were Never Intended to Bear

[6] Book of Ecclesiastes, 12:13 (NAS)

[7] Book of Romans, 12:2, (GOD’S WORD Translation)

[8] Proverbs 8:35, (GOD’S WORD Translation)

[9] BSF International, The Life of Moses

[10] Jared Brock, A Year of Living Prayerfully: How a Curious Traveler Met the Pope, Walked on Coals, Danced with Rabbis, and Revived His Prayer Life

 

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