I always thought that was an answerless question, a lame conversation-starter that people threw out when they didn’t know what else to talk about. Though I’d actually heard some pretty inspiring thoughts on that question in the various secular “personal growth” books I’d flipped through in my life, it seemed that it ultimately boiled down to a matter of opinion, that there wasn’t — in fact, there couldn’t be — a universal answer.
It wasn’t until I’d been studying Christianity for a while that I realized that it offered a strikingly clear answer to this age-old question:
The meaning of life is to know, love and serve God.
I couldn’t believe I’d never heard this. I’d lived in heavily Christian areas most of my life and was on the receiving end of many evangelization efforts (I was often the only non-Christian to be found), yet it was never overtly stated that that this belief system offered such a clear, concise answer to the What’s the meaning of life? question.
I wouldn’t have found this at all compelling at the time since, in my mind, belief in God was like belief in Santa Claus. However, I can’t help but wonder if it would have planted a seed. The theory that the meaning of life is to know and love and serve the One who created us — and that we will always be restless, we will never find true harmony in our lives until we understand this — might have lingered somewhere in my subconscious. It’s such a clear, testable statement — it just begs to be tried. I wonder if at some point, after my firm atheism had melted to a sort of curious agnosticism, I might have decided to give it a shot.
I had begun to notice a general restlessness in myself and the other people I knew who were immersed in secular society. There was a lot of seeking, driven by the strong sense that there was something out there that we were looking for, but not a lot of finding. We looked high and low, read books about how to find all life’s answers within ourselves, traveled, did yoga, changed career paths, dabbled in Buddhism, went back to school, traveled some more, and even sent the occasional inspirational “life wisdom” email forward. And yet the restlessness remained.
I really don’t know how much it would have piqued my curiosity to hear the Christian pitch that we hadn’t found what we were looking for because there was one, big place we hadn’t looked. But it’s such a simple answer to such a huge question, with no downside to trying it even if it’s wrong, that I can’t help but wonder if my curiosity might have gotten the best of me at some point. There’s a part of me that thinks that I might have taken that first step and attempt to get to know this rumored Creator, just to see what I might find.
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