Earlier in the summer I wrote an article where I mocked “treasure movies” because the people searching for the treasure don’t usually get to keep the money or gold. The bad guy gets the treasure instead and dies/turns to a statue/becomes cursed, etc. The good guy gets the “real treasure”, which is a lofty moral proverb about life itself being the actual treasure. With this in mind, the past three days spent in my hometown Labor Day weekend helped make it clear that while life is the real treasure, it’s the people in our lives that give life meaning. Simple concept, but I’ve never really let it sink in before: People are the meaning of life.
Last Friday I took off work to visit Fort Payne, AL in action. I wanted my wife to see the award winning elementary school, the place I used to work, my parents’ places of work, their church, and the local Greek restaurant. Each time we arrived at a new place, I was surrounded by people I’ve known at least for the past 20 years. Childhood friends, their parents, and people I know through association in the 13,000 population town. It reminded me of the end of the movie Big Fish and also Mr. Holland’s Opus. Everyone was there and everyone was happy to be there.
Money becomes irrelevant when it comes to family and close friends. My parents have made it clear to me without actually having to say it, that raising a child is a priceless job: No amount of money could equal all they have sacrificed or gained. There are certain experiences and areas of personal growth that can only be obtained through human relationships.
I remember in high school being asked this question in class: “Which would you rather have- a billion dollars but no human contact whatsoever, or countless good friends but very little money?” Not even the class clown chose the money, not even for a easy laugh.
My stock answer for the question of the meaning of life has always been “to please God”. But even Jesus himself made it very clear that it’s impossible to love and serve God without loving and serving people. Jesus said one of the greatest commandments of all is to “love your neighbor as yourself” and even taught his followers to also love their enemies. People are the meaning of life.
I can’t help but see a direct co-relation between the world’s health care crisis and the lack of Christian involvement. Not our “Christianized American government”. It’s not their job. It was left up to the Christians, starting in the New Testament. But the government is left to pick up the slack, and tends to disappoint. The Apostle James said that true religion is caring for widows and orphans. People are the meaning of life.
“The truth is, we say not as we do… Pick up the beat and stop hogging the feast- that’s no way to treat an enemy.” -Jack Johnson (“Sleep through the Static”)