April 27 I Thursday
1 Kings 1-2
“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” —John 10:10
What is the meaning of my life? What am I here for? Interestingly, King Solomon pondered the same questions over 3,000 years ago and Greek philosophers have debated these issues for centuries.
Plato determined the meaning of life was found in knowledge; the more you know, the more life makes sense. A student of Plato, Aristotle, believed knowledge was only a means to an end, but the highest good was found in happiness. Epicurus came along, and resolved that happiness is found in pleasure. An “epicurean” today is someone who lives for hedonism; do what you like, eat, drink and be merry. Epicurus, however, said that real pleasure was not found in self-indulgence but self-discipline. If you were disciplined, then enjoy the pleasures, and that would bring meaning to life.
Antisthenes, a student of Socrates, disagreed with the “pleasure” theory, and said that meaning is found in virtue—doing what is good and right, and demonstrating a moral excellence. He founded what was known as the “school of cynics” because they rejected wealth, power, health and fame. Then the “stoics” moved in and said, “Yes, we need to embrace pleasure, but also avoid pain.” They became known for their emphasis on avoiding suffering.
Someone once said, “Don’t show me who writes your laws; show me who writes your music, and I will tell you what your next generation will be like.” This brings us to the much more recent era of the 1960s when the Beatles swept through the western world with, “All You Need is Love.” This morality reflected the idea that as long as what you were doing was an expression of love, you have found meaning to life. Bob Dylan, a poet, musician and philosopher, advocated being his own person, and not dying in someone else’s footsteps. This influenced people’s independence, seeking their own individuality and meaning to life.
Solomon, a wise man, who had turned away from God—and thus his capacity for wisdom became a capacity for folly—wrote about and questioned all these things. From Plato’s knowledge, Aristotle’s happiness, Epicurus’s pleasure pursuit, Antisthenes’s moral excellence, to stoicism, the Beatles’ love proclamation, and Bob Dylan’s being your own man, Solomon had left no stone unturned. He tried them all and found them to be utterly meaningless, a chasing after the wind.
Philosophies will come and go, but what is eternal and flawless is the Word of God, and every page leads to Jesus Christ. Faith in Him dispenses with philosophies. Knowing Jesus is what makes sense of this world and everything falls into place. In Him, we have all we need, “life to the full”, which is true and lasting happiness, fulfillment and purpose.
Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, You are the answer to everything. You make sense of this world, and I thank You for bringing meaning and purpose to my life.