WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?

by Ernest O'Neill

Looking to Things for Security --- Only God Can Provide Security

Program 73

Why are you here? That's the question we're discussing, evening by evening, on this program. We have reached the point where we said that it was no use looking to the ordinary prophets and religious leaders for explanations to this cosmic question. There is no point in looking to them, nor is there any point in looking to any human philosophers, because they all share the same limitation. They have never been off the earth.

They have never been outside in the cosmos. They have never been beyond what we can see with our greatest radio telescopes. Indeed, there is only one man who has ever been able to leave the earth at will, come back to live here for more than a month, and then tell us He was going back to see His Father who had made the earth and proven to scholars, historians, to lawyers, to literary critics alike that He did do that. That is the man, Jesus of Nazareth.

You know how we have discussed the reasons we have for believing that He did rise from the dead and broke the death barrier. So, now we are listening to His explanations of why we were put on this earth and why we exist. You remember how we have been sharing how all of us have the same experience in regards to the question of security. That is, we never seem able to get sufficient security.

Of course, Jesus said that. He said, "Whatever is born of flesh is flesh." You're born of the flesh. All you have is created life, and you feel all the time as though you were made for some kind of uncreated life that has a security and a stability in it that is beyond what this present world seems capable of giving you. But somehow, you can never experience it with just the elements of created life that you possess.

He said, "It doesn't matter how you try, you'll never do it. But of course, you won't believe it." But of course we don't believe that. That's why you know you are trying to build up your bank balance as high as you can. It's why you are trying to get a better insurance policy. It's why you're hoping the government will provide a better social security system, because you believe that somehow you ought to have stability and security from the economic instability and insecurity that is present in this world.

Indeed you believe further that you should have a stability and a security in regard to your physical health. But that seems finally impossible when we pass through the final experience. Yet, we keep on trying. You know how many of us have absolutely dedicated our whole existence and whatever abilities we have to establishing security. Indeed, we scramble and scrabble to get enough shekels together to give us an early retirement and the kind of safety that we think we were made for.

What Jesus has told us, is of course, that we can never get enough safety to satisfy us. Our appetite for security and stability is so great, is so tremendous, is so supernatural that the money that we gather on this present earth or the circumstances that we manage to create for ourselves in retirement will never supply us with enough security to save us from that terrible feeling of angst that we feel at times when we waken up in the night in a cold sweat.

He said, "We'll never get it", because that desire for security and stability is a desire for what we were made for. We were made for the realization that somebody else that is bigger than our dads, bigger than our moms, bigger than our husbands, bigger than our wives, bigger than our presidents or our prime ministers, someone who is bigger that anyone who is on this earth, is actually aware that we're here.

The reason He put us here was so that we would begin to depend on Him day by day and not try to substitute the things that we can get and gather around us for His own love and care. That's what Jesus said. He said, "What you're doing is you're trying to substitute things for love. That's it! You're trying to get security from things instead of from love and you'll never do it."

Actually, we know it ourselves. We all joke about the woman who has received her fifth $500,000 (or 200,000 pound) diamond and she says dramatically, "Things, things, things! Don't you care about me, myself?" Of course we know, that in fact, love is deeper than giving people things. That, Jesus said, is our problem. We're trying to get security and stability from things that we gather around us when the ONLY thing that will give us real security and stability is love.

"Indeed, it's not security and stability we need," he said, "it's love." Security and stability is just an attribute of love. You can attempt to get security and stability from things and still not get love, and so you don't feel you have security. If you get love, even if you don't have the things in front of you, you have the security. Actually, we know it ourselves.

We know it from when we were little children. You did not know the state of your dad's bank account. You did not know how much money he made week to week. In fact, when you look back today, you wonder how he managed at all. Yet you know the tremendous sense of stability and security you had because there was somebody over you and above you who knew (it seemed infinitely more than you did), who cared for you and was concerned for you. That is what gave you stability.

Same deal with your Maker! That's exactly what He wants you to begin to feel. In fact, He gave you your father as just a shadow and a poor example of what He, Himself is. Your own Father is the one who made you. He is the great Father, who, though He's all our Father, is yours particularly because He knows you. You're special to Him.

He, through His Son, said this, "Therefore, I tell you. Do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat, what you shall drink nor about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food?" We know it is. Certainly it's far more than food. "...and the body more than clothing?" Yah, when we had poor clothes -- still it was more important to be alive.

"Look at the birds of the air. They neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns." That's right. They don't. You never see a bird gathering into a barn or sowing or reaping. "And yet, your heavenly Father feeds them." We know that. We know that. It's incredible. We don't know how it works, but there is a whole system there that operates.

Actually, we do know that it has worked with us, too. At times, when we haven't been able sow or reap, or we haven't been able to gather into barns, somehow or other the meal has been on the table. Somehow or other, provision has been made.

Gradually, if we reflect upon it, we begin to realize that this Father may use a pay cheque as the method. He may use a salary as a method. He may use wages as the method. He may use a foreman or a boss or the owner of a company, but at other times, He may use some other method we can't explain.

But it is Him that is doing it. That's why He said, through His Son, "Which of you, by being anxious, can add one cubit to his life?" It's right. It doesn't matter how much we worry. We can't add a year to our lives. We can't add an inch to our stature.

"Why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field and how they grow. They neither toil nor spin." They don't. You've never seen a flower toiling or spinning, and yet, really it's dress is beyond anything that Christian Dior can produce, or anything that the great couturiers in Europe can produce.

"Yet I tell you, even Solomon, in all his glory, was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field which is today alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, Oh men of little faith?" That's what Jesus said.

He said, "Stop looking to things for your security. Start looking to your Father for it, because He will give onto you without fail as He has done over the years of your life, right up to this present day.

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