But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:33
I read an article by Charles Chu, on the distinction between happiness and meaning. Chu approaches his writing from a rational standpoint, so I was interested in his findings on meaning. He reviewed studies on which countries’ residents had a high level of meaning. It became shockingly clear that those countries with a high level of religious belief, also had a high level of meaning in their lives. Some of these countries were extremely poor, with a great deal of civil unrest. Yet, they retained a high level of meaning, because of their religious faith.
There were a number of wealthy nations, with higher levels of happiness, that still had lower levels of meaning. It was also interesting that suicide rates in countries with meaning were lower than those with lower meaning. This was true even when the lower meaning country was rich. Religion provides meaning, and meaning brings a reason to live, far more than wealth.
Chu reminds us of Victor Frankl’s quote from his famous book, Man’s Search For Meaning. “Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how’.” Victor Frankl earned the right to share those words, as a Nazi Concentration Camp survivor. He learned its truth by witnessing those who gave up and died amidst the harsh conditions of the camps and those who had the will to survive.
Today, ask God to strengthen your faith, with the added gift of wisdom. It requires wisdom to gain the insight necessary for life’s meaning. Think about your faith and what brings your life meaning. Ponder what your faith tells you about the reasons for living. As you answer these basic, yet powerful questions, your life will become richer with meaning. Wealth is helpful, but doesn’t give you a “why.” Embrace your faith and accept God’s gift of meaning and the wholeness it provides.