Back in 1979 Douglas Adams published the book “The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy”, within 3 months over 250,000 copies were sold. It then evolved into a TV series, a video game, and even a blockbuster movie in 2005. Though more interestingly despite the fame of the franchise Adams created, one joke out of the novel became more famous than the franchise itself. If you ask Siri, Alexa, or Google what the meaning of life is, you may get the response “42 the answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, The Universe, and Everything”.
I remember as a child learning of Adams 42 without ever hearing of, or reading, the Hitchhikers series. Even when our Pastor, Darren, asked me to write an article of the meaning of life I joked “its 42 obviously… this will be the shortest article ever”. When Adams wrote this joke, he could not imagine how this one line would grip people, how it still permeates society, and how it would influence culture.
However, I would argue that there is something inside all of humanity, during the day to day grind, after a 10-hour shift, whilst paying the household bills, that asks “What is the point of all of this?!”. I would propose that the reason this joke has got so much traction is because something as simple as the joke 42 numbs the desire in us for a greater purpose. If there is no purpose then I cannot be failing at it. If life is just one big joke, then it doesn’t matter how naff my life is.
The answer to this great question, is far more invigorating,
exciting, overwhelming and challenging. The truth is much less
comfortable. Truth requires a change of actions, a change of
worldview and even a change of self-worth. Objectional truth,
unfortunately doesn’t care for how you feel.
When Christians look at the meaning of life, they understandably go to some of the great commands God has given mankind. Some may think our purpose is to procreate, to leave our parents for marriage, to go forth and multiply (Genesis 1:27), saying this must be the meaning of life!
Others may think our purpose is to worship, to love God, to lift Him high (Deuteronomy 6:4-7, Matthew 22:37-40), saying this must be the meaning of life!
Some might even say it is the mission Jesus gave us to create disciples (Matthew 28:16-20). I myself dedicating my life to this command, surely this must be the meaning of life!
Though I would again say that the answer to this great
question, is far more invigorating, exciting, overwhelming and
challenging. The truth is much less comfortable.
I would propose the meaning of life is You. You are the answer to the question. The meaning of life is so simple yet so profound, YOU. Not what you do or could do. Not what you achieve. Not what you mess up. Not what you miss out on. Not what makes you excited or makes you sad.
I wonder if during this article the thought crossed your mind “why did God create me?”. That is after all what life is – God’s creation. God’s breath in our lungs. His blueprint in flesh and blood. My purpose and meaning are not what I can do for Him, they are simply ME.
You and I are uniquely different, wonderfully created, not to achieve things, not make goals and miss them. Why because God just wanted to spend time with you. He created YOU to be YOU.
This truth is uncomfortable, it seems like it is not a meaning at all. I know you are thinking this doesn’t make sense it cannot be that simple, or boring. So maybe I can take a moment to explain the logic that led me to this belief.
God by His very nature of being God is not lacking anything, not in need of anything, and certainly is able to do anything. The meaning of life cannot be to do things, because to do things would imply that God created us to fill a need. No, it cannot be that.
Well maybe it is lift God high, maybe God longs to be worshipped. I would enthusiastically agree that God enjoys ours worship and even loves it. However, this would only give meaning to humanity, and I believe God is so much more personal than that. There are billions of people who can sing better than me, give better than me, act better than me. If that was the meaning of life then I would struggle to be of benefit to that meaning. No, it cannot be that I believe God is much more personal.
God took so much care in creating us. He stitches us together in our mothers’ wombs. He has counted the very hairs our heads. God has a meaning for your life, and it is YOU. He wanted you as you are not what you do or don’t do. He wants you. You are the meaning of life – your unique personality, smile, laugh, and cry. He created you so you could be you and so He could be with the unique you. Nothing you do could make Him value you more. Nothing you could give can give you fulfilment. Your very existence is your purpose. To be loved upon.
To accept this truth is tough. We live in a society that constantly tells us we are not beautiful enough, thin enough, rich enough, happy enough, good enough. We are taught to earn love, through giving of gifts, doing chores, the speech we use, and even how we spend our time. It seems almost ridiculous that the one whose love we deserve least is the one love we don’t have to do anything to earn.
You exist because God wants YOU.
But I promise if you grab hold of this truth, if you understand how amazing, incredible, and mind blowing it is that God just wants you, to spend time with you. Your life will change. You will experience a freedom like no other, and you will have a relationship with God that is so personal, secure, and intimate; what you do or don’t will no longer matter because it will not longer define who you are.