Confession 271: Making Meaning

Have you ever had one of those moments when you asked yourself, “What am I doing with my life?” 
I mean really sat down, looked around you, assessed the situation, added it all up and wondered, “Whatam I doing with my life?”
What do I do in my daily routines that is meaningful, that is lasting, that makes a difference?  

Am I using my time, my talents, my opportunities to glorify God?  

Or, am I just slogging through, going through the motions, knocking off one day at a time?
What am I doing with my life?
If you’ve ever asked yourself this question, consider yourself in good company.  King Solomon, at the height of his power and glory, found himself at a loss to answer the same question.  Looking around at his kingdom, his wealth, his success he declared:
Nothing makes sense!
Everything is nonsense.
    I have seen it all—
    nothing makes sense!
What is there to show
for all of our hard work
    here on this earth?
People come, and people go,
but still the world
    
never changes.
 The sun comes up,
    the sun goes down;
it hurries right back
    to where it started from.
 The wind blows south,
    the wind blows north;
round and round it blows
    over and over again.
 All rivers empty into the sea,
    but it never spills over;
one by one the rivers return
    to their source.
 All of life is far more boring
    than words could ever say.
Our eyes and our ears
are never satisfied
    with what we see and hear.
 
Everything that happens
    has happened before;
nothing is new,
    nothing under the sun.
 
Someone might say,
    “Here is something new!”
But it happened before,
    long before we were born.
 
No one who lived in the past
    is remembered anymore,
and everyone yet to be born
    
will be forgotten too.
Ecclesiastes 1:2-11

Can you imagine?  Solomon had everything, I mean EVERYTHING he ever wanted or could ever want.  And yet, there was no meaning for him in any of it.  He considered his life BORING
Solomon, who was commissioned by God to build the Holy Temple, to create a dwelling place for the Most High, couldn’t find any MEANING in his life!!  

Although blessed on the outside, on the inside Solomon felt empty and lost.  He had wealth.  He had power.  He had prestige.  He had authority.  He had a harem of 800 women.  

And yet, he stood upon the parapets of his castle and declared all life to be meaningless nonsense.
I think many of us living in America today can relate to the emptiness, the aimlessness, the apathy Solomon felt.  Our lives seem so blessed on the outside.  

We’re good at making ourselves look good—the right clothes, car, house, spouse, shoes, food, bags, make-up, activity participation, vacations, schools….the list goes on and on.
Yet underneath, just how content are we?  And in our most quiet and closed moments, how many of us are whispering “My life is just meaningless nonsense!” 
When we spend our time and energy searching for meaning outside of ourselves, we are destined to be let down.  Everything in life is impermanent, including our bodies.  

Yet, if we dig down deep into the very fabric of who we are (a child of God) and what we were created to do (glorify Him), then life becomes a vast sea of meaningful opportunities in which we can sink ourselves.
It’s all about clarifying our purpose.
I recently heard author and speaker Donald Miller enumerate on finding meaning in life.  His definition of a meaningful life, shaped by psychoanalyst Victor Frankel, follows:

“People find meaning in life from working on a challenging project with other people that will save many lives.”

Did you get that? 

Challenge+Community+Saved Lives=Meaning
As I look at that definition of a meaningful life, one thing comes to my mind—THE CHURCH.  

This is what we, as Christ’s body, are created and called to do.  We work together, as a community of believers, to do difficult tasks that will save many lives.  And by “save many lives”, I mean to literally save many lives. 
The “saving” of souls is the byproduct of saved lives.  Jesus wasn’t going around Judea handing out spiritual tracts on salvation.  Instead, he was literally placing his hands on those in desperate need and healing them.  To me, there’s a fundamental lesson on Christianity there.
And so, as The Church, we are called to engage in life saving ministries.  

We work together, as a community, to bring hope to the hopeless, to bring healing to the sick, to bring food to the hungry, to bring clothes to the naked, to bring freedom to the imprisoned, to bring justice to the oppressed.  And in doing these challenging tasks, we find meaning in our lives.  

We look at the world around us and see infinite opportunity and possibility
We are able to stand upon the front steps of our homes and look around us with a sense of purpose, knowing that God created us and placed us right here, right now, to make a difference in someone’s life
What am I doing with my life?
Blessings and Peace,
Sara
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