The Meaning of Life


Have you ever heard of Sadhu Sundar Singh, an Indian evangelist? He trekked and preached in North India around 1920, after being converted to Christ at age 16. A story is told how he and a fellow traveller who was of another religion were in a blizzard climbing a mountain in Nepal. They came across a man shaking in the cold, lying in the snow on the roadside, barely alive. The fellow traveller said it was the ‘will of God’ and passed on continuing up the mountain to the half way house. However, Sundar Singh hoisted the man on his shoulders and began carrying him up the mountain trail. A little further on he came across his travelling companion lying in the snow, dead, frozen to death. Carrying the man on his shoulders had made Sundar Singh work harder. This kept him warm. This warmth also kept the man on his shoulders alive.

The meaning of life is discovered in what you do for others. The greatest way you can help yourself is to help someone else. This sounds like blasphemy in a world filled with messages of, 'if it makes you happy, do it'; 'follow your dream'; 'it's all about you'. Help others? Please! 'I'm here for me. Get out of my way'. This is depression guaranteed. Selfish living is too shallow for our soul. Living for yourself violates the way you’ve been designed. We are not engineered, emotionally, mentally or spiritually to live for ourselves. This will leave us empty of purpose and meaning. And we feel it! Deeply. Endless entertainment only leaves you bored. We are entertained to death! Endlessly pursuing pleasure will never satisfy you like you hope it will. Yet our thirst for purpose cannot be quenched. We try to fill the void with stuff, but the more stuff we get, the greater the emptiness we feel. Our meaning in life is discovered in knowing the original ‘meaning', the original ‘reason’.

In the Gospel of John 1:1, he tells us that ‘In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God’. The ‘Word’, is translated from the Greek word ‘logos’. This was a word never before used by the Christian world. It was used by the Stoics mostly and they interpreted Logos as ‘the meaning’, or ‘the reason’. John took this to describe what the original meaning of life was, Jesus. So it can just as easily read,

‘In the beginning was the meaning. The meaning was with God and the meaning was God’;


‘In the beginning was the reason. The reason was with God and the reason was God’.

Our personal meaning of life, why we are here, is discovered when we discover God. John identifies him as Jesus Christ. When we find him, we find our meaning, we find our reason. He has the blueprint of our lives. He is the original architect and he designed each of us with a specific purpose in mind. Discovering that meaning of life is like hitting the greatest jackpot we could ever hope for in life. To be able to smile deep within, no matter what is happening in our lives is a luxury we receive when we reach out to him, receive him and decide to do whatever he calls us to.

His call on you is always going to help others, to help other people achieve their dream, rather than trying to get others to help you fulfill yours. When we decide to serve others we find the key to our meaning, our reason to live.

Who are you carrying on your shoulders right now?

Phil Pringle1 Comment