7 So Jesus spoke again, “I assure you that I am the gate of the sheep. 8 All who came before me were thieves and outlaws, but the sheep didn’t listen to them. 9 I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out and find pasture. 10 The thief enters only to steal, kill, and destroy. I came so that they could have life—indeed, so that they could live life to the fullest. John 10:7-10, CEB
What does it mean to have a meaningful life?
Whether or not it’s important to have a meaningful life isn’t really in question (from my perspective), as Jesus indicates that (at least part of) his purpose is to lead people into a life of meaning. In verse 10 here he refers to that as “life to the fullest”, elsewhere in John we may interpret “eternal life” as something like a “meaningful life” (or perhaps more specifically, life lived in accordance with God’s principles). But what does this look like? How do we do it? How might we use Jesus to form a specific vision for defining meaning in our lives? There are a variety of ways of approaching and answering these questions, although it’s probably important to acknowledge that the best we can do is give this an educated guess.
I read somewhere recently that we have too often defined “meaning” as “the satisfaction of cravings”. In other words, we want something, and then we have to have it. We find meaning in the act of getting what we want. For example: Scott wants another guitar. Scott buys another guitar. Scott experiences “meaning” in the act of having another guitar. The author went on to say that this kind of meaning tends to be fleeting. It doesn’t last long. The satisfaction of one craving means another craving just pops up somewhere else. True meaning, according to this author, comes from learning not to satisfy cravings…rising above desire in order to rest in the contentment of not needing.
I certainly like the sound of that. I have experienced many times the sorts of “temporary” meanings that come from satisfying urges. I suspect there’s some real truth in this author’s words. I can’t say as I’m mature enough at this stage of life to have truly lived out what he suggests. But I’m trying to get there and the idea resonates enough with me that I felt the need to share.
What do you think?