Andy Stanley - The Meaning of Meaning
So, if given the choice, and this is kind of a strange choice, and most of you've made it, but let's just play along for a minute. If given the choice between living a meaningful life, living a life full of meaning, or a life without meaning, a life without purpose, to borrow from ServPro, maybe you've seen the ServPro ads, a life without meaning would be like once you're gone, it's like you never even happen. So apparently you don't see ServPro commercials. Anyway, that's kind of cute. Anyway, so when I say given a choice between a living, a life with meaning, a life with without meaning, I mean, if your legacy, like, you know what people thought about you once you're gone, if your legacy could be determined just by pushing a button, I would imagine that most of us, hopefully all of us, but at least most of us would say definitely meaningful.
I wanna live a meaning filled life versus meaningless. And most of you have, have without, you know, there's not really a button obviously, but you're, you're living a meaningful life. You're, you're, you've got purpose in your life somehow. You've chosen that you've opted for meaningful. And if that's the case, you didn't know it at the time, but you, you have discovered the secret because it really is a secret. We're gonna unpack it today. You've discovered the secret to meaningful, you've cracked the code on purpose. You've, you've sort of discovered the password to, to purpose.
Now, just quick confession as the pastor, just kind of keep it real. When I was 18 years old, 19 years old, definitely when I was 16 years old, meaningful and purpose, not really on my radar, probably not on some of your radars, either at that age and maybe still not. Cyndi Lauper got it. Half right. Girls aren't the only ones that want to have fun or fun. Un as she said it, right? Because at that age, in that season of my life, I, I was not, if I'm just being honest, I wasn't on a purpose quest. I was on a happiness quest, right? I was on a purpose quest. I just, I just wanted to be happy, just wanted to chase happiness. And maybe that's you today. And I understand that to some degree, we all wanna be happy to some degree, we're, we're all kind of pursuing, being happy. We're certainly not pursuing being unhappy.
Now you have some friends, or maybe some family members or extended family members, and you watch their life and you're like, I think your goal is to be unhappy because every decision you make makes you more and more unhappy. But they don't know that nobody's intentionally on an unhappy quest. But at different seasons of our life, and again, this may be you right now, and I'm so glad you're watching or you're in one of the rooms with us, it's easy to slip into this. But here's what you will all, here's what we all discover eventually, and the sooner, the better. And eventually it dawned on me, like it dawns on everybody eventually, that actually these two purpose and happiness are inseparable. That one leads to the other, but not the other, to the one that one leads to the other, but not the other, to the one. In other words, show me, show me a a happy person. And I'll show you someone who's cracked the code on meaningful and purposeful. They've cracked the code on what it means to live with purpose.
Show me an unhappy person, and this is a person, and maybe this is you right now, show me an unhappy person. And regardless of what they have or don't have, they, they basically are bouncing from experience to experience, to experience to person, to person, to person, to relationship, to relationship to relationship, maybe even marriage, to marriage to marriage. Only to discover that John Mellencamp was correct as well. That oh yeah, life does go on long after the thrill of living is gone. And the person who finds themselves simply chasing happiness, what they're really chasing, and again, we've all been there not judging, they're basically chasing, we were basically chasing the thrill, the thrill, the thrill, the thrill, the thrill. But the thrill requires a new experience and requires a new person and requires a new environment, and on and on. And it goes, that's why I said, when it comes to purpose and happiness, one leads to the other, but the other doesn't necessarily lead to the one.
So for the next few minutes, here's what we're gonna do. For the next few minutes, I'm gonna do my best to help you unravel or unpack the mystery of meaning. Because if you're like most people, you want to live a meaningful and purposeful life, and most of you are, but here's the thing, if you don't know why something's working when it's working, you won't know how to fix it when it breaks. If you don't know why something is working, when it's working, you won't know how to fix it when it's break and when it breaks. And my point is simply this, that if you're in the pur, if right now you have some meaning and purpose in your life, you need to understand the formula that brings that to you so that you don't accidentally make yourself or send yourself off in a less meaningful life. And it's easy to trip into because of the world we live in. And at the same time, if you would say, you know what, Andy? Honestly, I I, I have stuff and I have a job and I've got people, but I, I don't, I don't sense meaning and purpose.
Again, we're gonna unpack what it means to have meaning and purpose in life. But real quick, today is actually the third part of a three part series. We're wrapping it up today entitled A Better Question. And if you've been tracking along with us, what we've said in this series is we're in the month of January, and the month of January is generally a month when we hopefully look in the mirror and think, Hey, what can I do to make myself better? We, we essentially focus on this question, what should I do about me? What should I do about me? How can I make myself slimmer and smarter or stronger, healthier, wealthier? And as I've said, you should address all of those things. You need to be healthier, you need to have good financial habits. If you're, you know, get that degree, break that habit, get out of debt, get out of that relationship, you know, whatever you need to do that. Those are all important things. But in this series, I've suggested that there's actually a better question than what should I do about me?
And this question, as you've seen, if you focus, if you've tracked along with us, this question shifts our focus from what should I do about me to what needs to be done around me. It shifts the focus from what do I need to do about me, to what needs to be done around me, what needs to be done in the world? What needs to be done in my community? What needs to be done in someone else's world? And our better question is this question, what breaks your heart? What breaks your heart? You're like me, you're bothered by a lot of things. You're irritated by a lot of things, maybe locally, culturally, nationally, maybe even internationally. There's some things in the world and you look at them and you say, that shouldn't be, I wish there wasn't that in the world. But the question we're asking in this series, is there a lot of things that irritate us and get on our nerves? But is there, is there one thing? Is there one thing that bothers you more than other things? Is there something that kind of moves you beyond irritating and concerning to, hey, something needs to be done about that?
And if that's the case, you should pay attention to that. And I wanna reiterate something I've said both times. We've talked about this. Even if the thing that breaks your heart is beyond your control, it's beyond your ability to change or beyond your ability to solve, you should pay attention to that. And as we're gonna see today, you should look for a way to give a piece of your life away to that issue. You should look for a way to give a piece of your resources or a piece of your time away to that issue. Not because you can solve it, it's probably too big for you to solve. But there's something so valuable about allowing a broken heart to lead us to the place where we give a portion of our lives away. But if nothing, if nothing bothers you, be honest. If nothing bothers you, that doesn't benefit you.
And here's what I mean by that. If the only things that bother you are things that would benefit you if they were solved, if the only thing that bothers you is how inflation impacts you, if the only thing that bothers you is your high electric bill, if, if you think about the things that bother you, if all the things that bother you rattle you, you know, grab your emotions. If they are all things that come back to you, in other words, if those things were solved, you would be better off. But not necessarily anybody else. I mean, maybe in some sort of secondary sense. But the reason these things bother you is because of how they impact you. If, if nothing bothers you, that doesn't benefit you, that should bother you. And here's why, because you're in a danger zone and you probably don't know it. You're actually on the verge. And here's what we're gonna unpack today. You're actually on the verge of falling for an insidious lie. A lie that you will eventually see for what it is, because over time and with age, we eventually this all comes clear.
But if you don't see it in time, and if you don't catch this in time, you have the potential to waste your most valuable asset, something that's running out, even as I talk, you have the potential of wasting a large portion of your life. Because this lie that we're gonna talk about, and Jesus is gonna go right at it in just a minute. This lie that we're talking about has the potential to reduce you. But here's, here's the reason you should take this seriously and should pay attention whether you're a religious person or not a Christian person or not, this goes outside the bounds of all of this. This is just kind of a life thing. This lie has the potential to cheat you out of your brief opportunity to live a meaning filled life. It has the potential to cheat you out of your brief opportunity to live a meaning filled purpose-filled life.
So this is so important. Jesus thought it was, here's what happened. Luke brings this narrative to us. And if you are new to the Bible study or new to Christianity, or just examining it here, here's something to note. Luke was a first century doctor who sort of became a historian, super smart guy who was a Jesus follower and decided that somebody needed to put together an orderly account of the life and teaching of Jesus. So he interviewed everybody he could find who had anything to do with Jesus. He wasn't one of Jesus' disciples. And he interviewed them. He knew Peter, and he knew John, he knew James, the brother of Jesus. And he puts together this orderly account. And in that orderly account, we find this very unique interchange between Jesus and a crowd. But I want you to pay close attention to the opening statement of this story, because this is not how you picture Jesus. Ready?
Here's what Luke says happened, a crowd of many thousands had gathered so that they were trampling on one another. That's not what you picture is it? When we picture Jesus, we picture Jesus, he's kind of isolated. He's got a long white robe, he's got this, you know, peaceful look on his face, piercing blue eyes. He's walking along with a couple of people, with some people following, just a little healing there and a little healing. Not the picture everywhere. Jesus went, read it for yourself in the gospels, crowds upon crowds. And the crowds were crazy. They were trampling one another. Why? Trying to get to Jesus. Imagine strangers constantly touching you. Imagine everywhere you went, there're strangers who just, they just want a piece of you. They just wanna touch you. Welcome to the daily life of Jesus.
So here's these, all these crowds, they're trampling, they're looking to be healed. They're bringing, they're sick. They want a miracle, they want to be close, they wanna see him. And he can't move any faster than the crowd because again, everybody's walking. And then in the midst of this chaos, Luke tells us that someone in the crowd would never get the person's name. And I don't even know that Jesus was able to make eye contact with this P person. There were so many people, someone in the crowd shouts out, teacher just outta the blue, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me. I mean, I was like, what? I mean, why are we, why are we talking about that? Because I mean, I, he, this guy couldn't get this resolved. And hey, maybe this guy can help teacher, you know, tell my brother, divide the heritage with me, a reasonable request. But this was not Jesus' agenda. And Jesus paused, stopped and yelled back and replied to the man, Hey, who appointed me? A judge or an arbiter between you, between the two of you.
In other words, hey, who said I'm the mediator? I I'm not gonna get involved in your, your family issue. I mean, why, why are you choosing me? And then Jesus does what Jesus does. Jesus sees an opening, an opportunity, a teachable moment, and he takes hold of something woven into this question, and he turns the corner and changes the subject to address something he wanted to talk about that fit his agenda. So apparently he stops, has everybody sit down and he begins to teach. Remember what started this? You know, Jesus Rabbi, tell my brother to be fair. Tell my brother to make sure I get what's coming to me. Tell my brother to make sure he splits things up the way dad intended. We don't know if the his, their father had even passed away or not. We don't know what's going on. We don't know what the details are. Jesus quiets the crowd, sits them down.
And here's what he said. This is so great. Then he said to them, watch out. Be on your guard against all kinds of greed. Of course, the guy who asked the question is like, greed. Why are we talking about greed? I just want what's fair. I just want what's coming to me. Jesus smiles, watch out. Be on your guard against all kinds of greed. Now, I love this Greek term. The Greek term for greed is ionia, ionia, ionia. I want us to say it together and I'll tell you why in just a few minutes. Ready? Lyonia. Okay, those of you here, you're driving somewhere and you think that's weird. You're sitting on the couch with four people. You're like, I'm not gonna do that. All of us together. Okay, ready? Lyonia, Lyonia sounds like a disease, doesn't it? Ma'am? I don't know how to tell you this, but you have Ionia. Oh no, my mom had that and her mom had that. Oh, can you see it? Yes, yes. She had pleio. We got something for that. But some, you know, it's a, it's actually a disease.
That's why I like this Greek word. It, it's the disease of insatiable. It, it's the, it's the disease of, it's the disease of never enoughness for meanness, never enoughness for me to, it's the disease of since they have one, I should have one too. It's the disease of mine looks older than theirs and I think I should get a new one to match theirs. It's the disease of discontent. It's the disease of always looking around and everything that you have, it just doesn't seem to be what it used to be. And there can't, there just isn't ever enough to come your way to fill that insatiable bucket of getting whatever need that is met. It's, it's a disease. And Jesus says, Jesus says, you gotta watch out for it. And he ask them, he says, you gotta watch out, be on your guard. So I'm gonna ask you the question, the answer is no. So don't, don't pretend like you're better than you are. The answer is no. But I'm gonna ask it anyway.
Then I'm gonna tell you, why are you on your guard against ionia? Are you, are you on the lookout for Ionia? Are you watching out daily for greed and ionia? And the answer is no. And here's why. The answer is no, because we aren't on our guard against things that we don't perceive as a threat. We don't live our lives on guard against things that we don't perceive as a threat. You wear sunscreen during the week. You don't walk around with bear spray, right? Unless you're on a trail and there's a sign that says there are bears and it's like, honey, we need to get some bear spray. As soon as you're aware of a threat, we go on our guard, but we don't live our lives looking out for, or, you know, being on guard, on guard against things that we don't perceive as an actual threat.
And Jesus says that I should be and that you should be on guard against never enoughness, pia, greed to which we're all, you're all thinking the same thing. Wait, greed. I mean, I have issues, but I, I, here's his point. He says, because ple nexia is sinister and it's subtle. It wears multiple disguises. It disguises itself as a virtue. I'm responsible. I'm careful, I manage my things well. I have nice things. I'm just trying to take care. No, no, don't touch my nice things. Well, I have plexiglass all over all my stuff. You know, you can look, but you can't touch. It's, I'm, I'm just careful. I'm responsible. I'm a good steward. I'm taking care of my family. It disguises itself as a virtue. It hides behind things like this. I work hard. I earned this. I'm entitled, Hey Jesus, tell my brother to split the thing up fairly. I need to get what's coming to me. And you can't see it in the mirror.
So we don't see it as a threat besides, I'm gonna push back on Jesus for just a minute besides Jesus, okay, greed play next to you, whatever that interesting. But what's the threat? Why do I need to be on guard against that? So I'm greedy. So what I got my stuff. I don't really care what people think. So why is it, why should I fear pleonexia? Why should I fear greed? Why should I be on guard against it? You know, you gotta gimme some more information. Jesus, what's at stake? And Jesus is about to say, lemme tell you what's at stake. Your life is at stake. What makes life really life is at stake. What life makes life really worth living is at stake. And you don't realize it. But that's what is at stake. Because greed in all of its subtle forms, has the potential to rob your life of meaning. Wait a minute, how in the world can greed rob my life of meaning? You ready for this if you have to leave early?
Here's the bottom line, because pleonexia or greed ensures we are always an end and never a means. If you're never a means, you'll never experience meaning greed. It's all coming to me. For me, it's my stuff. I don't care what you think. Greed. Greed ensures we are always an end, never a means. And you can't experience meaningful until you are willing to be a means. Then Jesus continues with his teaching and he gives them a maximum or a truism or a principle or a a saying, here's what he says. And again, what he's about to say. When you read it, you're like, well, yeah, that's true. Everybody knows that. And here's his point. Yeah, everybody knows this, but we forget it when we think about how we live it, when we, when we think about how we live, we know it. He's going, yeah, I know you know it, but are you living it? I know you believe it, but is that belief? Is it informing your attitudes and your perspectives and your actions? And most importantly your reactions.
Here's the statement. He says, come on, life, life does not consist in an abundance of possessions. In other words, at no point do you equate the value of your life with what you own to which you would say. And I would say, well, of course we don't. And Jesus is like, yeah, but watch the way you live and watch the way you respond. And look at how you guard your time and guard your assets and guard and guard and guard. You're watching out, you're guarding all the wrong things for all the wrong reasons. Because at the end of the day, what you own doesn't equal the value of your life, regardless of the amount, right? Regardless of the amount of, of your possessions, the value of possessions, you would never equate it with the value of your life. I mean, God forbid, if you were ever carjacked and somebody had a gun and they're like, it's your life or your car, would you pause and say, I gotta, okay, I gotta think about that because I just made the final payment on this thing.
Oh man, oh gosh, what about my wi no, no. In that moment, you know, your, your life is, again, life and stuff. They're two completely different categories. Ple, nexia, all the subtle forms of greed fools us into thinking the opposite is true. So we live our actual lives, even though we know what Jesus said is true. We live our actual lives as if life does consist in an abundance of possessions. But I'm gonna push back one more time. Okay, good point. Jesus. Gotcha. But so what, so what, what is so dangerous about that you, you haven't convinced me that this is something I need to be on the lookout for. I I I'm just not feeling the tension. And Jesus would read our minds and would read the minds of his audience. Good question. And so, do you know what Jesus does? Jesus launches into one of his famous stories. He launches into a parable.
Lemme tell you what a parable is in case you don't know, a parable is a made up story. So this is complete fiction. Jesus makes up a story to make one specific point. A parable is designed to make one specific point. So Jesus smiles, he knows what they're thinking, he knows how we would respond to this. And he leans in and he tells him a parable. Now, if you grew up in church, you've heard this before, but I want you to pretend like you haven't. Pretend like you're sitting around thousands of people who trampled each other to be close to Jesus. Somebody has said, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me. Jesus apparently changes the subject to talk about ple, xia, greed. And you're still trying to figure out why should I worry about this? And something else you should know. This message of this message Jesus is delivering is far more relevant for me and for you than it was for his original audience.
The last thing they were worried about was greed. The last thing they even felt like they had the potential to worry about was greed. Because greed assumes you have something to be greedy about. These people are hand to mouth. Give us our day, our give us this day our daily bread. That was a literal prayer. You had to have literal daily bread, bread and wine. The only things that would keep everything else spoiled. So they're, they're listening to this thinking, greed, are you kidding? I, I, I don't think, I think he got the wrong audience. Well, today with me in the audience, it's the right audience. And I think with most of us in the audience, it's the right audience.
Here's the story. He says this, well, lemme tell you what this illustrates first, the point of the parable to make sure you stay on track through this 'cause he kind of goes all over the place. The point is to illustrate the meaning depleting. This is very important. He's about to illustrate through this parable, the meaning depleting power. Ofia. In other words, put it this way, it's the power of greed. The power of greed to rob you while it enriches you. This is why it's so subtle. He's about to warn us against the power of greed that actually robs us while it enriches us. So here's the story. He says, the ground of a rich man yielded an abundant harvest. So the rich get richer even in the first century. That's exactly what this means. Somebody who already had extra just got extra, extra. And this man thought to himself, my goodness, look at this abundant crop. I iron, I'm already rich. I already have more than I need, but now I've got extra. Extra. And he thought to himself, what am I gonna do? It wasn't apparent to him what he should do.
What should I do with all my extra? He saw this as a problem he had to solve. It was actually an opportunity and he missed it. He didn't see it that way. And the reason he didn't see it as an opportunity, Pia, greed, but he didn't know. He just thought he had a problem. I've got extra. Extra. What do I do with my extra extra? I don't have any place. Oh my goodness, I have no place to store my crops. Now I was tempted at this point in the sermon to talk about our closets and our attics and our basements, but I'm not gonna, and your special storage unit and you had to, I'm not gonna do that. Okay? So that's way too personal. Anyway, alright, what should I do? I have no place to store my crops.
And here's the assumption, this is important. The assumption was since it came to me, it's for me, we call this around here the consumption assumption. The consumption assumption is if it comes my way, it's obviously for my consumption. If it ends up in my hands, it's for my consumption. If it ends up in my bank account, if it ends up as my degree, if it ends up as my opportunity, my resources, my connections, my relationships, well if it comes to me, it's for me to be consumed when I need to consume it or leverage it when I need to leverage it. It's the consumption assumption. And then he said, ah, I got it. I know what I'll do. I'm gonna tear down my barns, my perfectly good barns and I'm gonna build bigger ones. And there I will store my surplus grain. I'm gonna save it now to consume it later. Because if it comes to me, obviously it's for me.
And there it is a really bad case. aia, he was an end, not a means to an end. He was the end, not a means to an end. If it came to him, it was for him. And then he says, 'cause he's, he can't see this in the mirror. None of us can. He said. And then I'll say to myself, self, you have plenty of grain. Here it is. Here's the other trap right here in the parable. Jesus is brilliant. You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. And there's the lie. Since I have a lot of grain, I've got a lot of life. Since I have so much provision, I must have enough time to use up the provision stuff equals life and stuff equals time. I've got all the time in the world 'cause I've got all the stuff in the world. And then I'll say to myself, take life easy. Just take life easy, eat, drink, and be merry. And Jesus audience had one thing in common with us. They were envious.
I mean, wouldn't that be great just to have everything you need and it's all sorted out. It's all in the right investment accounts and you got enough cash coming in, you got it all. The whole thing worked out. And you're 35 years old. Are you kidding me? Or you're 45 or you, whatever age you are to have it all worked out well, wouldn't that be great to just get up every day with no responsibility every day with no pressure every day with enough food to eat every day with enough. You just do whatever you wanna do. In fact, you don't even have to get up. You can just lay there all day long. Just get up whenever you want to. Do whatever you want to. But this is a parable, which means Jesus has a point to make. And the point he's about to make goes right to the heart of the meaning depleting deception of greed. Greed will fill our schedule, it will fill our ego, it will fill up our relationship buckets might even fill up our bank account.
And while it's filling all of those things up, it can rob us all at the same time. It's, it's, we talked about this last time. If you have not tracked along with this series, please go to our website or my YouTube page and catch up because last time we unpacked this paradox that Jesus introduced last time, the pair of paradox is something that doesn't look like, doesn't make sense on the surface. Then you dig down a little bit and it makes perfect sense. And part of that paradox is in our attempt to be full, we become empty. And Jesus is illustrating this through the parable. Here's the guy who felt full, but he was empty because he missed the opportunity of a lifetime. And Jesus says at this point in the story, 'cause remember it's a made up story. Jesus introduces God into the story. And he says, as happy as this guy was about his future and as secure as he felt about his future, he said, but God said to him, because in a parable anything can happen. Right?
God said to the rich man, you fool. And everybody in Jesus' audience is like, fool, I would love to be that fool. What do you mean he's a fool? And and I mean, how, how could he be a fool? He was actually wise. He, he was responsible. He was smart enough to be wealthy. Now he got wealthier. How can you be a fool? I mean, he was wise, not a fool. And Jesus says No. And here's why. Jesus says no, and this is for you. And this is for me because the man in the parable made the mistake of presuming on the future, you know what that means? It means I've got so much stuff I must have. So much time to presume on the future is to assume time that you don't know. You have to presume on the future is to assume opportunity that you may never get is to assume opportunities to do good things later.
You know, once I'm an adult, once I get to my thirties, once I'm 40, once we get the kids outta the house, once we get everybody graduated, once we pay off our debt, once we, once we, once we then I'm gonna take care of that opportunity to do something beyond myself. And Jesus says, you fool, you don't know what the future holds. You don't have any guarantees. You don't even know what this day holds. He was a fool. Not because of what he owned. He was a fool. Because he was owned by what he owned. And he wasn't on guard against the subtle realities, the subtleness, ofia. But God said to him, you fool this very night, your life will be demanded from you.
Wait, wait. That's not possible. Have you seen how much grain I have? Have you not seen how much I have yet to consume? I have so much stuff. Doesn't more stuff equals more life? No, of course it doesn't. You fool, you fool. God said him, you fool this very night. Your life will be to demanded from you. And then Jesus presses in with this amazing question Then who then who will get what you have prepared for yourself? Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself? And it's like, oh, I know the answer to that, someone else. But not because he was generous, because he was dead. And then the punchline or the punch in the gut line for me and the punch in the gut line for us, Jesus gives us the punchline. This is the wake up call. This is why, this is why you've gotta discover something outside of you that breaks your heart. This is why you can't be consumable. You. This is why we cannot, we can't get locked into the consumption assumption.
And it's so easy for us because of where we live and what we have in the, the, the era of human history that we live in. This is, this is why you, you've gotta find a way to devote at least a piece of yourself to something beyond you. This is why you've gotta find that thing. Even if it doesn't completely break your heart and wreck you, you gotta find something outside of you to devote, to devote a portion of your life or your resources or your connections or your education or your influence to otherwise we, we fall into this trap and, and then Jesus leaves the parable. This is important 'cause that's the end of the parable. He pulls outta the parable and now he addresses us directly and he addresses his audience directly. And here's what he says. This is so convicting and inspiring if we take it the right way. He says this, this is how it will be. To which we're like, wait, wait, wait. What is this? Oh, oh, let me find that for you.
Jesus would say, this is total loss. Total loss is how it will be. He lost his life. He lost his stuff and he lost his opportunity. He lost everything. It was a, there's nothing to, there's nothing to show for him because it was all about him. There was nothing to show for him because it was all about him. Because he wasn't on guard against Pia. He lost everything. This is, this is how it will be. This is where we come in for whoever I'm a, whoever you're a, whoever. This is how it'll be for whoever stores up, things for themselves to be consumed on themselves, that that plan to consume everything that comes their way. This is how it'll be for people who are tricked. This is how it'll be for people. For people who are tricked as living as an end rather than serving as a means. And they get to the end of their life, their short life or their long life. And they're like, oh no. Oh no, I made it all about me and I have missed years of opportunity. I've missed years of opportunity to live as a means to an end, even in a small way. And I can't go back and recapture those opportunities. This is, this is how it will be for whoever stores up things for themselves. And then he gives the other opportunity but is not rich toward God.
Now this phrase rich toward God shows up in other places in the gospels. And when you put 'em all together, it's very evident what Jesus is talking about when he uses the phrase rich toward God. To be rich toward God isn't about giving things to God. God doesn't need your things. God doesn't need our stuff. God doesn't need anything. God's immaterial. God is spirit. Jesus said. So this isn't about giving gifts to God. You know what this means? To be rich towards God is to do for others what God has done for you to do for others. What God has done for you specifically to do for others. What God through Christ has done for you. That when you had a need, he met it. When you needed forgiveness, he gave it. When you needed peace with God, he provided it. He says, now I don't need you to give me anything back. I want you to, I want you to essentially pay it forward. I want you to do for others in whatever way you can as a reflection of your gratitude for what I've done for you. Jesus says, this is how you be rich toward God. It's becoming a means to an end that doesn't end with you.
For God so loved the world that he gave and did not require repayment for God so loved the world, he did something and we couldn't do anything back for him. He says, I want you to do it for someone else. And when you do, you're becoming a means to an end that doesn't end with you. And that's what's going to give your life. Meaning. No strings attached giving, no strings attached serving, no strings attached supporting. But if you're not careful, greed will rob you of that opportunity. If it's greed is a thief, here's why. Greed promises more, but always leaves you with less in the end, less of what matters. So circling all the way back around, here is the code. Here's the password. We're gonna crack the code. We're gonna unpack what it means to have a meaningful life. And it's very, very simple. I've said it several times, it's become a means to an end that doesn't end with you. That's it. It's become a means to an end that doesn't end with you. That's that's what makes something meaningful.
You think about a pen that you write with when it runs out of ink, it can't do what it was meant to do. It becomes meaningless when your cell phone finally can't be fixed anymore and won't hold a charge anymore. They won't let you change the battery anymore. When it can't, when it doesn't do what it was meant. When it doesn't do what it was meant to do. When it is no longer a means to an end that it was designed for, it becomes meaningless. You are the same way. And I in the same way. And Jesus because he loves you, is warning us not to allow that to happen and inviting us into a meaningful purpose, purposeful life. He said. But in order to do that, you have to be intentional and you have to find a way. Even if it's a small way to be a means to an end that doesn't end with you. That's what meaning means. That's how something becomes meaningful. That's where purpose is found. That's where happiness is found. That's where joy is found. And that's the invitation to all of us. That's what makes something meaningful.
So again, to go back to Jesus' words, be on your guard against axia. It is subtle. It is taking root in all of our lives in some form we're not even aware of. And we don't know it because it's so difficult to find. And Jesus, through this parable and through this teaching says, I've told you what to do. You've gotta find a way to be a means to an end that doesn't end with you. Don't be greedy with your life. Don't be greedy with your time. I mean, many of us, I've said it, I'd rather write a check than have to show up at the thing, right? Just I don't, I don't want just tell just you know, it's easier sometimes, right? My time is so valuable, your time is so valuable. And Jesus would say to me, Andy, don't you be greedy with your time. It's an opportunity. All of your time doesn't have to be a means to an end that ends with you or even ends with your family. Don't be greedy with your time. Don't be greedy with your resources. Don't be greedy with the influence you have. Don't be greedy with the connections you've made. Don't be greedy with your education. Don't be greedy with your experience. Choose something that doesn't benefit you and commit some of you to it.
And I think Jesus would say, and you better hurry. 'cause your opportunity slipping. It's slipping away. And yes, it may cost you resist and you'll live at least a while and dying in your beds many years from now. Would you would not be willing to trade all the days from this day to that to come back here and to tell your enemy, you may take my life, but you will never take my meaning. Because meaning is always found right across the border from what's in it for me. So one last time, what breaks your heart? What breaks your heart? What needs to change? Carve off a piece of you and invest it in that. And if nothing breaks your heart, just choose something quick. Your time's running out, no matter how old you are. And look, you're 30, you're going when I'm 40. When again, once the kids are outta the house, we do that whole thing. One day, one day, one day. You're presuming on a future you may not have.
And Jesus is inviting you in right now. He says, doesn't have to be big but shave off, carve off a piece of your life and become a means. Allow it to become a means to an end that doesn't end with you. That's how you find a meaningful life. So donate some time, donate some money, donate something. Find a way. Find a way to become a means to an end that doesn't end with you, that will make your life worth celebrating. Because in the end, as I tell you all the time, in the end, do you know what makes your life worth celebrating? What makes my life worth celebrating in the end, the value of your life. The value of my life will be determined and celebrated by how much of it was actually given away. It's in the end that we understand the power of becoming a means to an end that doesn't point back to us. So what breaks your heart? And if nothing breaks your heart, find something, invest in it, and don't succumb to pleonexia.