“Let God have your life; He can do more with it than you can.” – Dwight L. Moody
If you have seen the movie Collateral Beauty, you may have cried. It is understandable. It is a pretty emotional movie. When the movie opens you immediately meet a man named Howard who is the main character. In the very first scene you hear Howard ask the central question in the movie; “what is your why? What is your reason for living? What gives your life meaning and value?” These are questions we love at Northstar. What is your answer to those questions? What gives your life meaning? What gives your life value when difficult, unexpected things happen?
Howard has it all, but everything changes when his daughter dies. His marriage ends up in divorce, he checks out in life and his business is failing. So in the midst of his circumstances, Howard’s answer to that question is life is defined by three abstractions: time, love and death. These three abstractions connect every single human being on earth, everything that we covet, everything that we fear not having, everything that we ultimately end up buying, is because, at the end of the day, we long for love, we wish we had more time, and we fear death. The conclusion in the movie is that time is a gift, love is best and death is coming. Should you get knocked down in life, should you lose a loved one, find the collateral beauty in life. That is it. That is the answer.
Unfortunately, there is no comfort in that answer when life is hard. Even if life is pretty good right now, if all you do is pretend that your life has meaning, then all the meaning you have in life is pretend. As Christians we have a different worldview. Our answer is in Christ. Through Christ, God stepped into our everyday human lives and demonstrated a love that is beyond all measure. And while we don’t fear death we should maximize our limited time. David prayed in Psalm 39: ”Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered—how fleeting my life is. You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand. My entire lifetime is just a moment to you; at best, each of us is but a breath.” But God responded to our limited time with the answer of His eternity; and He forever defeated death to give us life. In John 19:30, we read, “When Jesus had tasted it, he said, “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and released his spirit.”
What is finished in death is replaced with eternity. What is paid in full is the price for humanity’s sins, our sins, that brought death to the world in the first place. All of this comes to us as a result of God’s eternal, unflinching, unshakeable love for us. We need no longer fear death or wish we had more time, for all of this is paid in full out of God’s love for us.
The movie is right in that uncertainty is certain. But as Christians, hope comes from the promises of God rooted in the work of Christ. The meaning of life isn’t pretend, it’s a loving God who is passionate about you.
- What is your why?
- What do you think about the claim that we are motivated by love, time and death?