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My life, why?

With faith in the Lord Jesus, the “One-ness intimate relationship with God” is the purpose & meaning of life... Without Jesus, our life is utterly meaningless. Mortality is what many people struggle with. Over the ages, philosophers have wrestled with the same issues - meaning of life and mortality. And some of us do, too.

Perhaps, Leo Tolstoy’s story can be used to illustrate this point. Tolstoy, a famous Russian author who wrote War and Peace, Anna Karenina and other stories, had written the following famous quote.

What is the reason or meaning of my life? I can’t attach anything to what I do. Whatever I do will be forgotten.

Tolstoy’s cry is what king Solomon has written thousands of years ago: “Meaningless! meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” (Eccl 1:2).

Leo Tolstoy (1828 –1910) was a Russian writer widely regarded as one of the greatest novelists in all of literature. His masterpieces War and Peace and Anna Karenina represent some of the best realistic fiction ever penned. He also was known for his literal interpretation of the teachings of Jesus. Tolstoy became a pacifist and Christian anarchist, and his ideas of non-violent resistance influenced Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King. Near the end of his life, he finally rejected his wealth and privilege and became a wandering ascetic—dying in a train station shortly thereafter!

At the height of his fame Tolstoy experienced a crisis of meaning. He said that he contemplated suicide and could no longer live unless he could find the meaning of his life. He wrote about the crisis in a short work, “A Confession,” which was written in 1882 and first published in 1884. Tolstoy was one of the first thinkers to pose the problem of life’s meaning in a modern way.

Tolstoy tells us that he wrote to make money, take care of his family, and to distract himself from questions about meaning. But later—when seized with questions about the meaning of life and death—he came to regard his literary work as worthless. Without an answer to questions of meaning, he was incapable of doing anything. Despite fame, fortune, and family, he wanted to kill himself. He claimed that being born was a stupid trick that was played on him. “Sooner or later there would come diseases and death…all my affairs…would sooner or later be forgotten, and I myself would not exist. So why should I worry about all these things?” In short, why should he do anything or care about anything, if all is for naught?

Other quotes from Tolstoy: Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. Happiness is in your ability to love others. I believe that the reason of life is for each of us simply to grow in love. It is not beauty that endears, it’s love that makes us see beauty. Finally, God said about love in 1Cor 13:1-3 – If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love = Give + Serve (LGS)

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