“Chariots of Fire” is one of my favorite movies, not only because of the haunting music, but because the movie brilliantly weaves together three great interests of mine: athletics, Scotland and faith. The story revolves around two great athletes: Englishman Harold Abrams and Scotsman Eric Liddell.
In the movie, Abrams runs in the final of the 100 meters at the 1924 Olympics. He is a man of great drive, a man of great discipline and a man of great ability. He is addicted to running, and to winning. An hour before the final he says, “I have 10 lonely seconds to justify my whole existence. I have known the fear of losing, but now I’m almost too frightened to win.” Abrams does win the final, but walks away in loneliness and emptiness. There is obviously something missing in his life. But how can someone feel so empty at the same moment as he is achieving his dream?
The Scotsman, Eric Liddell, is a man of deep faith. He said, “God made me for a purpose, and God made me fast, and when I run I feel His pleasure.” Here is a man at peace with himself, but more importantly, at peace with God. In his heart, he knows the reason for his existence on earth. As a Scotsman, he would have learned the old Catechism: “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.” So fulfillment in life is not found in pleasing ourselves (that ultimately will lead to emptiness) but in pleasing God. That gives purpose and meaning to life.
Do you have a purpose for living? Is your life meaningful or meaningless? Richard Dawkins, an Oxford Professor of Science, believes that we are nothing but “jumped up apes.” He thinks that there is no purpose to life, and to ask about the purpose of life is silly. But surely to ask what life is all about is a meaningful question which people throughout history have always been asking.
The Bible begins by saying that we are created in the image of God. God did not make us to live randomly or meaninglessly, but for a purpose. King David wrote: “How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!” (Psalm 139:17). God made us for a purpose. Our search for meaning is realized in a personal relationship with the living God who created us and in love sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to forgive us and to guide us throughout life.
So how do you look on life? Surely, you are not the product of purposeless forces, like a piece of flotsam thrown up on the beach of time with no meaning. If you are created by a loving God, meaning is found in knowing, loving and obeying this great God.