What’s the point?
What’s the point?
It caught my eye immediately – a full page photo of a man sitting on a step, a pensive look on his face. Above him, in large letters, the question that heads this article, “What’s the point?” And then a few words of explanation: “It is perhaps the biggest question of them all. Does life have a meaning? Six authors give us their answer.”
Among the six were a novelist, a philosopher, a poet, and a reporter. I read their answers with interest – and with sadness. What’s the point? One suggestion, that we leave the universe a little more conscious than we found it. Another, the welfare, success and prosperity of whatever cause, or whatever people, we most love, honor and wish to be a part of. A third, to imagine, to furnish our lives, and the terrain we inhabit, with meanings that derive from our own nature, and from the nature of our own terrain. The last one reduced it to four simple words: the point is love.
I confess to finding in the six answers exactly what I expected to find: an absence of all reference to God. No acknowledgement of his existence. No effort to understand his mind on the subject. No sense of the meaning of life being found in him. God just wasn’t in the picture.
But he should have been!
On Christmas Eve I wrote a letter to the boys and girls of Grace Baptist Church. Inevitably there was a reference to gifts: “Just occasionally the gifts we are given are a puzzle to us. We unwrap them, look at them, and wonder what we’re supposed to do with them. I think there are lots of people who really don’t know what to do with the gift of life. They have some idea. But the most important reason for God’s gift of life is unknown to them. And that is very sad. We will never put the gift of life to the use God intended unless we know what its purpose is.”
So what is its purpose? Many of the boys and girls to whom I was writing could give you the answer to that question in a heartbeat. The correct answer. The Catechism for Young Children that we teach them asks, “Why did God make you and all things?” The reply is as follows: “God made all things, including me, for his own glory”. God has given us the gift of life so that we might know him, serve him, worship him, and bring him honor by lives that please him.
In public schools in my native Scotland children used to learn the Westminster Shorter Catechism. It has a famous first question about the main reason why God has given us life: “What is the chief end of man?” The answer? “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy him forever”. It’s just like the answer above. God has made us for himself and we find our great reason for living in glorifying and enjoying him.
Which reminds me of St. Augustine and his famous Confessions. He is addressing God and says to him, “Thou hast made us for Thyself, and our heart is restless, until it find rest in Thee.” Only in God our Maker, in a life lived for him and for his praise, will our quest for meaning and fulfillment be satisfied.
It was to give us such a life that God gave his only son Jesus. And so that we might actually have that life he now calls us to turn to his son Jesus. Humbly. Penitently. Expectantly. Today.
Grace Baptist Church
777 W North Street
Carlisle, PA 17013