Ever wonder if everything you do and plan to do is vanity and in the end meaningless? I do. Praise God I have a way to find meaning in this life from Him instead of apart from Him. My search would never end.
Let me explain this further: Francis Chan asks some valid questions in his book Crazy Love. He asks what people will remember us by, and why we do what we do from day to day. We constantly fret about our looks, relationships, a sport, a car, a job, putting on a show to get attention, etc. Yet, in the end after we die (say at a good age…90) who will remember us in the decades that pass? Will our children remember that one time we impressed that potential lover? What legacy will we leave them? Besides them, what legacy will we have left to the people that have known us? Will we be another life that has been swept away with the breeze? Or will we leave a lasting mark that goes beyond cars and jobs and looks? Will it go beyond putting up our facades to make ourselves look good, or at the least like we have it all together? What will give your life true meaning in the long run?
Our generation, including myself, is one that is yearning for identity. We try to find it in so many things, and instantly put ourselves in facets of our culture that give us meaning and belonging. We find so many ways to fill up our minds and our time with these things, and I at least know in myself that I’m always looking for more. Everything in the end (not to be depressing or fatalistic) ultimately has no long term meaning to me and seems to be vanity to me. My stuff will be all gone when I die, so no use in hoarding it or trying to attain much beyond my needs. People, whom I love, can be gone in a breath of wind. Work could change with the economy. I don’t have extraordinary skills beyond that of an average human (not to be taken either negatively or positively).
So, where in all of this do I find ‘meaning under the sun’ as the writer of Proverbs puts it? The only answer I keep coming back to is Christ and my relationship with Him. That is: my sole pursuit of Him as my God alone. I can see in only this can my life begin to have the light of meaning. Only then can I find meaning in relationships, jobs, the stuff I have, and the skills I have. Those can be used for something greater and beyond myself. I can pour into them, and not see it as pointless because there actually is a purpose. It’s not one that will fade away at death, but an eternal one. Through this I can find my identity, through Christ. He is the only one that can shine on my life to give it meaning and cease it from being vanity. In Christ, we find the true meaning of who we are, and we become more of a completion of who we’re supposed to be. We aren’t defined by our failures or our past, because He has forgiven that and has given us an opportunity to move forward in that by His grace. In Him we find identity and freedom from a life of vanity.
So, in a new way we search for meaning. What can we do to find this meaning in how we serve God and others? How can we grow in a relationship with Christ? What can we give up or what can we take in that causes growth in us and in others? What actions can we perform? What intellectual knowledge can we soak up to shore up our knowledge of our faith in Him so that we can always be ready to give an account of our faith if asked? There are so many ways we can go about this new way of finding meaning, but always remember it always have to come back to Him otherwise those pursuits will become vanity too. If it’s not about Christ, those things will become legalism and spiritualism and religiosity.
In the end, I’m honestly not sure who’ll even read this. I could count that as vanity as well, but if God by His grace encourages whoever reads this then it is worth it. And, if by chance, no one does, I have at least expressed my heart through words and I can have peace in knowing my life has a greater purpose because of Jesus’s sacrifice for my life. Once I came to know the truth of His suffering and conquering death, my life started to gain meaning beyond myself. I pray this happens for you, whomever you will be.
Also, on a humourous note: interesting how a simple four sentence status of mine turns into a book. Oh boy! I apologize for my long-windedness 🙂