It’s a sad but true observation of the way things are in our world that people want to fill up their time with frantic energy.
Most people have no idea where they are headed, but they are trying to get there at faster and faster rates!
Before I retired from selling my time to buy fuel and groceries, I learned to apply thought and testing to to ensure that the activities of my business team were all coordinated and headed toward some meaningful goal which supported the mission of our business. While it may have looked like we were just focussed on doing things faster, better, cheaper in order to make more profit, in reality what we were trying to do was to maximize value for our shareholders. Sometimes that meant doing things faster, better and cheaper, but not always. Very often it required us to go slower, maximize relationships, and expend energy with no obvious benefit to our team by supporting customers. As one of my mentors - Peter Drucker - said, “it’s more important to be doing the right thing than just doing things right”! Frantic activity which is undirected toward a goal only serves to contribute to increasing the entropy of the universe without producing anything meaningful.
Another trait in our society is the belief that everyone has their own “truth”. And as long as that belief is perceived to be sincerely held it is deemed to be just as valid as anyone else’s “truth”. If those “truths” are challenged in any way then the response is to “cancel” the questioner. Truth is now to be subjective rather than judged against a standard. Objective standards no longer seem to apply to behavior. We give everyone permission to do anything they want by saying “you be you”. We have removed the concept of respect (or at least changed its meaning to be “you must think as I do”) and then are surprised that there is a lack of honor and dignity. Ethics and civil discourse are only a fond memory as our political parties demonize each other and hate thrives because no one knows how to agree to disagree any more.
Despite living in the most affluent age in history people are increasingly more profoundly dissatisfied with their existence. Loneliness and frustration are everywhere as people try to fill up their leisure with things, activities and substances seeking an escape from the increasing futility of their existence. Rates of suicide, crime, mental illness, lawlessness and vandalism are often no more than wrenching and wretched cries for help.
Well, enough of the gloom and doom; enter the triple treat!
Listen to these words of Jesus and rejoice:
“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 NIV
While I am sure this is not the first time you have heard or read these affirmations of Christ, I’d like to take a moment for a little reflection on the profundity of this prescription.
Jesus is saying that we cannot come to the Father except through Him.
Why do we want to come to the Father in the first place? Instead of asking ourselves or others “why am I here?”, does it not make much more sense to ask the One who is responsible for putting us here in the first place? If our lives are to have significant meaning we need to understand our primary purpose. That purpose is not (just) to do things faster, better and cheaper! The first item in the catechism of the Roman Catholic Church speaks well to the goal of our existence when it asks, “What is man’s chief aim?” And the response: “Man’s chief aim is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever!” Jesus says, “I am the way!”. Once we accept the exclusivity of finding our purpose through Jesus, all the frantic searching for meaning in our lives is replaced with a destination, a path, certainty and quiet assurance.
If we are confused about what our “truth” should be, Jesus relieves us of that futile responsibility by telling us “I am the truth!” Here is an objective standard we can strive to live up to. In a world which is confused about how to measure what is honest and true and lovely, Jesus allows us to have an unassailable answer for what our ethics should be.
Sigmund Freud is quoted as saying, “most people live lives of quiet desperation”. Jesus says, “I am the life!” If we want lives which are meaningful, purposeful and rewarding, Jesus allows us to live in Him by allowing Him to live in us! No “quiet desperation” here, but rather:
“Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy” 1 Peter 1:8 NIV
A positive and glorious destination, the sure and divinely approved way to get there, unassailable incontrovertible truth, intensive and purposeful living rather than existence — this is the triple treat wrapped in the packaging of Jesus Christ.
We would be exceedingly foolish to reject such a great bundle of gifts! The fact that so many of our fellow humans have not accepted must be because no one has told them or demonstrated the results! Spread the word!
Blessings on you and yours, Jim Black