Football, and Meaning

Life without God has no inherent meaning.

The universe is a result of chance and time, not Divine design. Life is an accident, not a premeditated miracle. The human species is an oddly upgraded ape, not the very Image of God. Neither life nor death possesses meaning—unless a Darwinian struggle for reproductive success qualifies as meaningful.

People nevertheless create meaning for themselves; we cannot do otherwise.

A man often forges meaning from his work, identifying with his profession. When men in America meet, they shake hands, and inevitably one will ask the other, “So, what do you do?” Sometimes women craft meaning from motherhood, identifying with their maternal role and actions. Others of us identify with and take meaning from our country of origin or ethnicity, our favorite football team—whether it be soccer or American style—our educational institution(s), or our hobbies.

If God is not, then none of these possess meaning. If mankind has no meaning, then certainly nothing that mankind does, builds, or enjoys has meaning either. And yet, sensing that meaning matters, we cobble it together from the shattered fragments of modernity, sadly ascribing value to our activities and associations while at the same time denying it to the very human beings who participate in the activities and comprise the associations. The work the man does matters. The man? Not so much.

A man whose sense of purpose—whose meaning—comes from his work loses himself when he loses his job or retires. A woman whose purpose is wrapped up in her children loses herself when they grow up and move away. When meaning is culturally derived, grounded in a profession or an activity or any other association, then it is unstable. It cannot but fail.

And yet, God is. He has created mankind in His image, investing us with inherent dignity, value, and yes, meaning. We mean to His glory.

A man may legitimately labor in any number of professions, but his meaning is to glorify God. A woman may raise many children or none, but her meaning is to glorify God. I might love football—the American kind—and suffer no love for soccer, but my meaning is to glorify God. It is the one purpose that cannot fail. When I retire, my meaning remains. When my children move, my meaning remains, and when my team loses, my meaning remains. I exist for the glory of God, and will continue to exist for His glory forevermore.

I have been created to glorify God, and not only does that truth grant to my life meaning, it also indicates that I will be most satisfied in life when I tie my identity and sense of meaning not to my work or to my children to my hobbies, but to my Creator.

He has created me for Himself, and that means everything.

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