July 18, 2011

The Age Old Question: What is The Meaning of Life?

I want to know - does everyone really love Raymond? Having occasionally watched the television show, Everyone Loves Raymond, I am not certain, Raymond loved Raymond! At any rate, I took a small break from my work the other day and I did it in front of the TV set. Channel surfing brought me to a rerun of this series.

The premises centered on Ray preparing to be the “mature adult” by taking on the responsibility of explaining the birds and the bees to his oldest daughter, Ally. Apparently earlier in the day she began asking “questions” and Raymond bolted out of the room unprepared to deal with the topic. But having rethought the situation he wanted to readdress the issue in hopes of doing the right thing by his child. Armed with several books and a set of notes, he proceeded to broach the delicate subject with his bright-eyed little girl while she was playing with her dolls.

Much to his surprise, Ally really didn’t want to know where babies came from, but why they came. She threw her dad for a loop when she asked, “I want to know why we are here. Why did God put us here?” In essence, she was asking, “What is the meaning of life?”

Completely dumbfounded by this turn of events (“Are you sure you don’t want to talk about sex, because that’s what I studied?) poor daddy Ray offered this answer to one of life’s greatest questions, “God put us here because heaven is too crowded.” Now really, Ray! Then again, I can remember several times, I was caught off guard by the innocent but straightforward question of a child and not being prepared! Can you?

The scene was comic but the question was serious and serious questions deserve answers.

For kicks I Googled, ‘what is the meaning of life’ and came up with 92,300,000 results. I did not take time to read them all. The first result was from Wikipedia. It listed numerous theories or philosophies from Platonism, to Christianity, to Classical Liberalism, to even a theory – so appropriately named – Absurdism. The second search result that popped up led to a site where to find the meaning of life, you had to answer their question of why are you looking for the meaning of life? Can’t you just picture Charlie Brown going “UGH!” after stumbling across this site?

Okay, this time I want to take a stab at this $65,000,000 question. I didn’t put in decades of research to conclude my theory. I took no polls or surveys to formulate my conclusion. I simply decided that the answer to what is the meaning of life is exactly the same answer to a question posed by a fictional TV character: Why did God put us here? And I know it is not because heaven is over-crowded.

The Scripture is clear that God uses the simple to confound the wise - the earthly wise that is. We always want to make everything so complicated. I am beginning to believe that knowledge is going to be the death of us. Spiritually speaking, it was for Adam and Eve so why should we be any different. I may have to rethink my knowledge is power stance in life. Of course, I believe that knowledge without godly wisdom in place is useless. But I digress.

What is the meaning of life? Why did God put us here? I wish I could say you heard it here first, but I can’t. The answer is as old as the WORD. Jesus, Himself, gave us the answer to this question over 2000 years ago, to confirm that which had already been given by God, the Father, long before Christ walked on earth. Here it is:

“Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:37-39 (NIV)

If you need the short version: Love God, love people. Let me mention, don’t neglect the order which this was spoken. Love God first, people second. If we’d just concentrate on loving God in everything we do, and loving people (remember Jesus died for them too!) then we’d all be living the meaning of life instead of questioning it.

Asked and answered,

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