If you ask people what the meaning or purpose of life is, you might hear responses like, “to know, love, and serve God in this world, and be with Him in the next” or even simply, “to get to heaven.” These are both goals, and good goals, at that, but they don’t do anything to actually *get* there.
Imagine, for a moment, a basketball team of great talent. Certainly the goal of the team is to win games and, thanks to the wisdom of John Madden, we know that, in order to win games, you have to score more points than the other team. But if we only focus on the score, we probably won’t score many points or win many games. On the other hand, if we focus on fundamental excellence and playing the game well, we likely *will* score points, and while we may not win *every* game, we will certainly win many of them, if not most. Indeed, championship basketball teams handle the ball well, they have great communication, their shooting form is practically a work of art, and the dominate defensively with rebounds and challenging offensive players on the other team. You see? It’s the fundamentals that are the process or means by which they score points, which is, in turn, the means by which they win games.
The goal of life may be to get to Heaven, but we can’t merely hope and pray our way there. We have to focus on the fundamentals of life. What then, are the fundamentals of life? We see a glimpse of this in scripture, with the story of the Young Rich Man:
16 Then someone came to him and said, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” 17 And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” 18 He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; 19 Honor your father and mother; also, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 20 The young man said to him, “I have kept all these;what do I still lack?” 21 Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell your possessions, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” 22 When the young man heard this word, he went away grieving, for he had many possessions. – Matthew 19:16-22
It is clear, from this passage of Matthew, that we must follow the Commandments, but Christ goes further, as he often does, and speaks to service and love of others. Finally, Christ says, “follow me.”
The fundamentals of life, then, are to love others with unbridled compassion, serve others at all costs, and follow the Lord. If we focus on the destination, we likely won’t get there. If we focus on playing the game and playing it well, we will surely achieve greatness.
Life is not about the destination; it’s about the journey. Will you follow the Lord?