WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?

by Ernest O'Neill

Jesus Tells Us We Are Unique/ Selfish Search for Self-Esteem

Program 70

What is the point in living? What is the point in staying alive? In fact, what's the point in being here at all? What is the point in your life? What meaning does it have? You probably wondered about those things yourself. That's what we try to talk about on this program each day. We have been discussing it for several months and have come to the conclusion that the only person who can shed any light on this kind of question in an authoritative way has to be someone that is more than an ordinary human being.

In other words, it has to be someone that has been able to do what that old musical that was on the London stage for some years stated, "Stop the world, I Want to Get Off." It has to be someone that has, if not managed to stop the world, has been able to get off the world and get back onto it again and therefore is able to tell us, from a wider sphere than just the narrow focus of our own world here, what life is about and what the universe is created for.

Of course, there is only one such person that has done that. Mohammed or Buddha or Zoroaster, the Hindu prophets, Confucius, it doesn't matter who you talk about in terms of religious leaders, all of them have been ordinary human beings, and have died, just like the rest of us, and been buried. That's been the end of them.

There's only one who has broken the death barrier and has convinced critics, historical critics, history critics, theological critics, legal critics, political critics, there is only one who has convinced all such scholars that he actually did break the death barrier. That is the man known as Jesus of Nazareth.

He said, of course, that the reason He was able to do that was that He is, in fact, the unique Son of the Maker of our universe. He said that He is able, therefore, to go through death as often as he wants, and to come back to earth as often as he wants. Certainly He did it very clearly, as the history books show, in the first century of our era.

We have been listening to what He has been explaining to us about the meaning of this life. One of the things that he has pointed out is that you and I have been making ourselves into egotistical, hedonistic monsters -- for one reason! We are trying to get the kind of life we think we were made for from people, and the things and the circumstances we have around us.

He said that is futility. It is bound to end in tragedy. Whatever is born of the flesh is flesh. Whatever you have around you is material and flesh. It is going to die in 70 or 100 years. What you are trying to do is, you're trying to get the life that you feel you were made for from purely created materials. It's impossible to do it.

He pointed out, of course, that most of us are in this situation. Most of us are in the position where we think, "Well, listen. I'm here on this earth and as far as I can see there's nobody to look after me, so I had better look after myself." There is born in us almost a desperate desire to make ourselves secure and stable -- independent of the other four billion people around us. Of course, the problem is the other four billion are trying to do the same thing. So it gets kind of crowded in the area of security and stability.

We do the same when we think of four billion others. We think, "Four billion others! I'm unique, I'm unique, but none of them know it so how on earth am I going to make them know it." So there are four billion of us trying to make all the rest of us see that we alone are important.

It results in a mass of envious, jealous, proud people who play all kinds of games in their conversations with each other to draw attention to their own brilliance or their own insights It's the same, of course, with the whole happiness thing. We feel, "Well, we're here. We don't know how long we're here for, but we had better make the most of this. We had better get as much happiness as we can." So we grab at happiness as much as we are possibly able to.

We grab it with this person or that person -- with this group of people, with that group of people. We use every circumstance to make ourselves happy at all costs, to get that tremendous exhilaration and excitement that we feel we were made for, and that always seems to escape us. However much heroin we take, however many drugs we take, however much alcohol we consume, we never seem to be able to reach that high point that we think we were made for.

That's the thing that Jesus says. No, you were made for an eternal kind of life. You're right when you think you were made not to die. You were! You were made for an eternal kind of life. And you're right when you think you're unique. You are unique! There's nobody quite like you in the whole universe. There never has been and there never will be.

But your uniqueness will never be recognized or acknowledged sufficiently by the people around you. It doesn't matter how many records you break in the Olympics. It doesn't matter how many great books you write. It doesn't matter how significant your particular insights into things are. It doesn't matter what corner on truth you think you have. That will never satisfy the uniqueness that you, in fact, have.

There's nobody really appreciates that. There's nobody that understands that, except the person who made you. Of course, Jesus says that that person, His Father and the Maker of the universe, knows you're unique, because, in fact, HE made you unique. Actually He thinks of you in that way. This is the way Jesus put it. "Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies and not one of them is forgotten before God?"

Not even a little, black, sooty sparrow that falls dead on a winter's day is ignored by the Maker of the universe. He knows it's fallen and looks at it and watches over it. Then Jesus said, "Why even (He says it in Luke, chapter 12, verse 7 in the Bible), why even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not. You're of more value than many sparrows."

So one of the things this man brings home to us is that you, yourself, are unique. You are! You're right in feeling that. You are unique, and your maker knows that, and He cares for you. He cares for you so much that He has counted the hairs on your head. He knows how many cells in your body have died and how many cells have been renewed. He knows how many miles your blood has travelled through your arteries. He knows how many beats your heart has had today.

The Maker of the universe is more brilliant than the most complex computer we have created. He knows all about you, and He knows you're unique and different and He treats you as different. And He thinks of you as different. Of course what Jesus said was, "Listen. If the most significant other in the whole universe thinks of you as unique, and knows you and acknowledges you, and has counted the hairs on your head, and knows you name and knows you're here, what in heaven's name does it matter about the rest of the people?

What does it matter what they all think? What does it matter what they all say about you? What does it matter whether they notice you or not? If the Maker of the universe notices you, what else matters? Jesus says, "The trouble with you is you won't believe this.

You go on trying to get that sense of uniqueness from all the rest of the people around you. You use everybody you can, and use their opinions to try to get a sense of your own uniqueness, and your own significance and your own self-worth and your own self-value and your own egotistic significance and importance. Jesus says, you will never do it.

You'll never do it. It doesn't matter if they all bow down to you and worship you as God. You'll never sense the significance and the importance that you actually do have until you begin to see that your Maker, the one who made you, the one who made all people, the one who made all the Gallup polls, the one who made all the elections, the one who made all the prizes, until you realize that He regards you as significant, you'll never realize your sense of uniqueness.

In other words, Jesus said part of the problem with you is that you are looking to the wrong source for your sense of happiness and for your sense of uniqueness. Napoleon said the same thing. When somebody asked him why he instituted the Legion of Honour, he said "Men love baubles. Men love baubles. They love decorations. They love little things that give them a sense of importance.

What Jesus said is, "For goodness sakes, stop trailing after that. It's doomed to tragedy and disaster. Begin to realize my Father, your Maker -- He knows you. You're of much more value than many sparrows. He has counted the hairs on your head. He knows your name and to him you're the most unique person in the whole universe! Let's talk a little more about the meaning of life tomorrow.

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