Life is meaningless.
What single person hasn't said or at least thought that at some time?
Maybe it was after a crushing disappointment, but more likely you reached that conclusion after years of grinding it out and seeing little reward for your effort.
We all have dreams of what would make our life meaningful. Maybe it's the right spouse or a fulfilling career or some prestigious award.
When I was young, I dreamed of being a bestselling novelist. I actually did get four paperback novels published, but then my fiction writing career foundered and never got going again. For several years life seemed meaningless to me.
That can happen when your dreams are broken. I had been so, so convinced that if I could achieve fame and fortune writing novels that I would finally feel like a whole person. After decades of trying with no success, I was forced to question my beliefs.
What I discovered changed my mind, along with my life. I hope you can learn from my experience.
It's no secret that celebrities are held up as role models. Companies use them as spokespeople, knowing consumers will identify with their success and buy the products they endorse. It's an old strategy that works very well.
But over the years, I began to wonder why so many celebrities crashed and burned. They seemed to have everything: wealth, good looks, talent, millions of admirers. So why have we read about many of them going into rehab for drug or alcohol addiction, or even committing suicide?
As sophisticated as they seem, those miserable actors and athletes had one thing in common. They rejected God.
With everybody flattering them, these people fell into the trap of self-sufficiency. Most of them had struggled against enormous odds and won. Their success had filled them with pride. They thought God was for the weak and naive, not streetsmart achievers like them.
Then a strange thing happened to them. Their mansions, designer clothes, expensive cars and fan adulation stopped working. Like all shiny things, they eventually lost their appeal. In their most honest moments, these superstars felt miserable. Despite their fame, they felt life is meaningless.
As I thought about unhappy celebrities, they reminded me of a king who set the pattern for them, 3,000 years ago. He may have been the first superstar in history.
His name was Solomon, and he wrote the Bible book of Ecclesiastes, a diary of how to make yourself dissatisfied. The full story of Solomon's failure is found in 1 Kings, where we learn that he took 700 wives and 300 concubines. Despite his great wisdom, Solomon allowed these foreign women to convince him to worship their false gods, turning him away from the true God.
Solomon made two mistakes we singles can learn from. First, his life was self-centered. He did not focus on helping others. Second, he neglected God, who had brought him so far.
Life is meaningless if you violate these two rules. Jesus called them the two greatest commandments:
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)
That is what makes life meaningful. Rejecting God brings terrible consequences, if not now, then in the next life. Failing to help other people results in a life of selfishness, a greedy, small existence.
I know people today hate to hear it, but we disregard God at our own risk. The godless life is a hollow existence, an insult to the One who created us.
Most of us live in materialistic cultures. Capitalism requires the never-ending production of goods and an advertising industry to sell them. Credit cards made it possible to buy luxuries which were previously affordable only to rich people.
Capitalism is a seductive system because on one hand, it raises people's standard of living, which is a good thing. On the other hand, as the public becomes more discerning, it takes increasingly deceptive advertising to sell products.
Material things cannot satisfy spiritual needs. Only God can.
China, India, and Asian countries are seeing an economic boom and the rise of the middle class. But since the beginning of time, God has instilled a need for Himself inside every human being. Trying to fill that God-vacuum with more and more possessions has failed miserably in the West. The United States has bigger landfills than any country in the world, a testament to all the junk we thought would make us happy but did not.
It will take the rest of the world decades to learn the lesson that life is meaningless if you focus on stuff, but eventually people will learn.
If you're looking for meaning in life, look first to God and second to helping others. Both are necessary.
Millions of people believe it's possible to have a meaningful life without God. It certainly is possible to help others without knowing Jesus Christ as Savior. However benevolent an atheist may be, he or she is getting their standards for right and wrong from society. How is that working out? We don't have to go back too far in history to prove every society has been a poor judge of right and wrong, good and evil.
While this article is not an argument on whether God exists, a discussion of a meaningful life inevitably leads to the question, "What is the greatest good?"
Haddon Robinson, a longtime teacher on the radio program "Discover the Word," said this In his book What Jesus Said About Successful Living:
"If we value that which is eternal, we will choose to serve God. If we value that which is temporal, we will serve money. The fact that we will serve something is taken for granted; we give our lives to something. What that will be is up to us."
It can't be scientifically proven, but I and millions of others believe Jesus Christ is the meaning of life. That, in essence, is the difference between Christianity and atheism. Those who choose something else as the meaning of life do, in effect, worship another god, whatever that may be.
To me it boils down to this:
Follow Christ = Life is meaningful
Follow Something Else = Life is meaningless
We each have to choose. In the eyes of the world, you may become a "great" person without being a Christian. But you can have eternal life only by choosing Jesus Christ. Which will you choose?