The Epic Story Of Humanity | Part 1
I haven’t written a blog for some time. I think I went through a period where I lost all confidence in my writing ability, if I ever even had any! So here it goes! I suppose the first thing I want to say is that in more ways than one, it’s been a big year for me, individually, for the community I’m part of at Riverdove Church, collectively, and for our world, globally. Whether we know each other or share each other’s lives or community life together or not, we can all at least share and relate to the global challenges that this year has brought and that we’ve all faced!
We’re All Looking For Purpose
In the whole scheme of things, I haven’t been on this earth very long. Nevertheless, along the journey of life that I’ve had, I’ve found myself continually opening up to the idea that there is more to life than what meets the eye. There are things going on that we can see and there are things going on that we can’t see. Probably the best terms I’ve heard to describe this and which I use myself, is that there is a big story and there are little stories. We each have our own life, how it plays out and what happens to us throughout it. This matters a lot to us and so it should!
What if all this were, in reality, in the “little story” category? And what if a bigger story was going on that has a grander centre than being only just about you or I? What if something of supreme significance was unfolding with far more importance than our personal journey of life and what we want to make of it?
The image that comes to mind is something along these lines: Picture a family who farm for food, sew their own clothes and cut wood for shelter and warmth. Though these are essential activities for life, this family is part of something bigger. They are subjects of a great king and citizens in a great expanding kingdom which exists and survives in a dangerous land amongst its enemies. This kingdom must wage war for its safety, for the protection of its citizens, and must continue to expand to meet the needs of its growing population. For this reason, citizens are called to actively participate in the bigger story of this great kingdom, in which their little stories exist and find life.
Over a number of blogs (I’m not sure how many at this stage!), I hope to sketch for you a story that is bigger than ourselves, which gives fuller meaning, significance and direction to the small (but by no means insignificant) stories of our own personal existence. If not for anything else, I hope you’ll read these blogs to simply hear another view amongst all other views as to what this life is really about. At the very least, these blogs will be food for thought, whether you agree or not! But I do hope that, for some, it provides perhaps a small bit of guidance to find what you’ve maybe been looking for in life.
In this blog, as well as giving the little introduction above, I’d like to share what discovering this bigger story has meant to me and how it’s helped me in my life.
We’re All Inspired By A Story Of Transcendence
Firstly, on merely a self-interest level, I like big stories! I like stories of mission, adventure, exploration and survival, all undertaken for the sake of a great cause. I like stories in which a mission or a goal transcends the value of any one person’s individual existence. For example, stories in which people risk their lives, their loves, their comforts and their valuables for the sake of a preeminent quest. Stories in which an individual’s life takes a back seat for the greater and more significant end.
There are endless great movies and books like this! Funnily enough, in these kinds of stories, I’ve noticed that when people place the supreme objective ahead of their own individual story, such people become great! On the contrary, those who don’t are forgotten. This reminds me of a great and highly influential man who said this about his own life: “I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry I received“1.
Here’s a second reason: I’m not sure at what age it happens, but a time comes in a person’s youth when they’re able to think beyond the activities of ‘today’ and beyond what is painfully ‘two sleeps away’ and contemplate their future. For me, at some point after the dreams of fire-fighting or digger-driving, I became less specific about my future desires and more attentive to the fact that, whatever happens, I don’t want my life to be wasted – I want it to count for something significant – I want it to be worth something in the end.
At this point, I’ll introduce what is perhaps one view out there as to how you can make your life worthwhile. It’s the view that, with this sort of significant job, this much money, these sorts of possessions, these sorts of travel experiences, these sorts of holidays, this kind of body, this sort of relationship with this sort of good looking woman or this charming man, with this kind of sex, having this kind of family, these sorts of kids, this kind of house, and, in the end, this sort of retirement, living until this kind of age, with this sort of death, you will feel your life has had worth and significance.
I suppose this sounds pretty good! I’m sure there have been many people who have lived happy and died satisfied with such an existence. I’m not here to throw wet blankets, just my two cents worth, for what it’s worth, and suggest an alternative in this small collection of blogs ahead.
Yes, it’s true, I’ve only journeyed a few short years in my life and there’s much more to go and much more to learn. But here, at age 28, I’ve found myself on the side of a teacher who once said, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions”2. It’s to this same teacher that I’ve turned, in the hope of discovering what life actually consists of. I’m writing these blogs to offer an alternative view, the view of this teacher in fact, as to what will give our life true worth and significance.
We’re All Part Of God’s Epic Story
It’s time for me to say it directly: I personally believe this world and everything in it has a Creator behind it, and that this Creator has written, is writing and has been unfolding in human history, a story of worth and significance for all humanity to participate in – whether you’re ‘privileged’ or not. The lives of the bricklayer with a presently bad back (I think it’s on the mend though!), the plumber, the cleaner, the truck driver, the girl working in the two dollar shop, the single and the married, the rich and the poor, the sick and the healthy, those who die young and those who die old, all these sorts of people can be swept up into the Creator’s big, present and eternal story.
What a fanciful idea! Well, let’s just hear it out over the following blogs. Why not?
So what does it mean to me? To discover a story and a reality that gives me daily and eternal significance, that makes a short and struggling life in the story more valuable than a long and peaceful life without it, is truly special. I hope to be able to sketch for you the story that I’ve come to believe is true and which will continue on long after me, a story which enlightens humanity as to how we all came to exist, for what purpose we’re made, and what is to become of us all in the end.
Good day to you, my friends!