I recently saw an interview with AFL Player of the Century and Brisbane Lions premiership coach, Leigh Matthews. For those of you unfamiliar with the game, Leigh Matthews is AFL royalty. Not only was he crowned ‘Player of the Century’, but he also won 8 premierships (4 as a player, 4 as coach), 8 best & fairest medals, is a multiple All-Australian representative and won the Coleman medal for the most goals in a season in 1975. It’s fair to say Leigh has been very successful in the sport of AFL.
During the interview Leigh was asked, “What is the most meaningful thing you have done in your life?” Leigh paused, smiled and then replied, “Well, I have spent most of my life involved in a game so I’m not sure... I guess we have entertained a lot of people so that is something.”
I was struck by Leigh’s comments. This was a man who had achieved everything in his chosen field and was wildly successful. Yet when asked what was the most meaningful thing achieved in his life, Leigh struggled to some up with an answer.
As I thought about this I was reminded of the opening lines to the Book of Ecclesiastes (1:2): “Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.”
The word ‘meaningless’ literally means vapour, something fleeting or elusive. So much of what we spend our lives, our money and our time on, is, according to the author of Ecclesiastes, ultimately meaningless. So much of what we pursue promises fulfilment and joy, but never delivers. Leigh Matthews had reached the top of the AFL ladder but struggled to see how all of it had any meaning.
So what then is a meaningful life? If you were in an interview and you were asked: “What is the most meaningful thing you have done in your life?”… How would you answer? The writer of Ecclesiastes finishes his book by suggesting that a meaningful life is to; “Fear God and keep his commandments…” (Eccl. 12:13)
Jesus, speaking many years later, said that to keep the commandments of God means to love God and to love others (Matt. 22:34-40). Love is the fulfilment of God’s commands and the key to a meaningful life. And this is not simply symbolic or emotional love, but it is love in action (Matt. 23:23). It is love that is generous, sacrificial, faithful and hopeful. It is love that overflows into worship, community, service and mission. It is love that flows from a heart transformed by the gospel.
So let me ask you; is your life a meaningful life? Do the priorities of your home, of your calendar, of your bank account, reflect that you lead a meaningful life? Is your life a pursuit of vapour or is it a pursuit of love for God and others?
As we begin our brand new sermon series today ‘Set Free: A Study of Romans 8’ our prayer is that the glorious truths in this chapter would stir us all up to love God and to love others and to see God continue His mission through BPCC to make disciples.