In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. -Ephesians 1:11-12 (NKJV)
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. -Romans 12:1 (NIV)
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. -Psalm 73:26 (NIV)
Today is this agent’s 42nd birthday, which naturally reminds me of the same number made famous regarding the meaning of life in Douglas Adams’ hilarious book, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. (I highly recommend it, if you’d like some seriously absurd laughs.)
A computer tells us the meaning of life
In that book, mankind builds a machine that was built for one purpose alone: To finally figure out the answer to the ages-old question of the meaning of life. Generations of men pass, and one day, the computer awakens with an answer. All humankind waits with bated breath: What is it? What could it be? We’ve waited eons, and now we can finally be enlightened!
The computer tells them the meaning of life is…42.
All that waiting…all that time and effort spent to build the machine…for an answer as confounding as the baffling question which birthed it. (I told you the book was absurd!)
How this all ties together
Of course, the meaning of life is something contemplated a little more each passing year by increasingly reluctant birthday celebrants. But I only mention my birthday here because it marks an interesting intersection of my old walk and my new walk.
In the unbelieving world, the number 42 is a fun inside joke amongst readers of Hitchhiker’s Guide (or watchers of the funny, but not-as-funny-as-the-book movie rendition). You can buy all kinds of shirts and other paraphernalia relevant to this joke.
But this birthday also marks two years since my being saved at age 40 (a biblically significant number), forever opening my eyes to layers of reality I couldn’t see before. And, even as a baby believer, I know that Jesus rocked my world view so radically that I knew the question of the meaning of life was already answered.
Why? It’s only a question if the focus of the questioner’s life is not God. (There is such a thing as Christian existentialism, but I’ll go into that another time.) Douglas Adams was a staunch atheist. And if you don’t believe in God, it’s understandable why you would spend a lifetime contemplating and searching for the meaning of your life.
In a way, asking a Christian the meaning of life is a trick question. The answer is patently clear.
The meaning of life is…(cue drum roll)
And with each passing day, God has only sharpened my focus on, and understanding of, what is real, what matters, and why things happen. All of these things make it clear about the meaning of the Christian life. But because we only see the backside of the tapestry, life can be frustrating. But just as the poem goes, “Doubt sees the obstacles; faith sees the journey.”
The meaning of believers’ lives is the chosen blessing of actively fulfilling God’s plans for this world. We do this through making our lives surrendered, sweet-smelling sacrifices to His glory. All things we think, say, and do, should be clearly to His glory and credit…including how we are dependent on Him to pick us back up when we fail Him daily.
The meaning of life, for us, is to praise God in our ever more Christlike walk. A birthday is the anniversary of when He brought us into this world, and a reminder that we strive ever more to serve Him as we leave vestiges of ourselves behind us on our path.
The meaning of our lives is to be walking songs of praise to God, our loving Father and creator, in our all-consuming passion to make Him known (Isaiah 26:8). Thank you, Father, for the blessing of another anniversary of service to You!
Chris Tomlin’s “Made to Worship” says exactly why we’re here: Purposefully made to sing His praises through our lifetimes.