(Prepared for a sermon on 1 Timothy 6:17-21)
At one time or another, just about everyone asks himself what life is all about. We’d like to think that we are here for some purpose. We want to know the meaning of life. There’s an emptiness within us which longs to be filled.
In the attempt to find purpose and meaning, people pursue all kinds of things. It turns out that there are only a limited number of things a person can try in the search for significance. Unfortunately, people throughout history have made the same experiments over and over again and keep coming up with the same result: Possessions, power and pleasure don’t satisfy our deepest needs and longings.
King Solomon tried it all. He pursued pleasure. He tried to find meaning in alcohol. He tried his hand at architecture, gardening, horticulture and animal husbandry. He studied nature. He amassed horses and chariots. He owned a trading fleet and was an international arms broker. He acquired slaves and musicians. He tried to find satisfaction in sex. He wrote songs and collected proverbs. He even had a career as a teacher. He accumulated more gold and silver than anybody could spend in a lifetime.
Looking back on it all Solomon concluded that there is some satisfaction in hard work and creating things. However, in the final analysis it is all meaningless. Nothing of eternal value is gained. All of our pursuits in trying to find the meaning of life are like chasing after the wind.
Why is it that way? It is because we cannot fill spiritual needs with material things. We are spiritual beings yet we focus on created things rather than the One who created them. As Solomon discovered, there’s no way that the grand house, the flashy wheels, the big bank account and painting the town red can fill the hole in our souls. No matter how much we do or how much we collect, we can’t earn or buy our way into heaven. Jesus put it this way, “What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26 NIV) We can’t take any of that stuff with us and we’ll look pretty silly trying to impress God, who owns the whole universe, with the size of our bank account.
If we can’t find true satisfaction in possessions, power and pleasure, then where can we find fulfillment? Where can we find meaning? Where can we find life that is truly life?
The answer to our deepest longings and aspirations is Jesus Christ. He said, “…I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6 NIV) He also said, “…I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10 NIV)
Yet life does not come without a cost. In the very next verse Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11 NIV) Jesus gave up His life so that we could have life. And apart from Jesus we cannot have life that is truly life.
That’s what we’re here to remember today. Jesus died so that our lives will have fulfillment and meaning. The bread we eat reminds us of His body which He sacrificed for us. The juice reminds us of His blood which covers our sins.
As we eat and drink this morning, let’s ask ourselves the question: “Am I still trying to find fulfillment in things? Am I still trying to find meaning in life by pursuing pleasure or power? Or, have I found the life which is truly life in Jesus Christ?”