By David Hegg
As I write this, I’m on vacation and am forcing myself to slow down. I’ve even decided that I want to experience pure boredom, and then do nothing about it. And it’s working! What I’m finding is that when I’m not chasing around trying to get things done, I have time to muse. Now, musing isn’t something we often talk about, right? You don’t walk into your office or coffee shop and say, “Hey everybody, anyone want to share your latest musings with me?” Right. But guess what? I’d like to share my latest, deepest musing with you because I’m on vacation and this just might help you.
I started thinking back to when the “(blank) Lives Matter” declaration first made headlines. It started with “Black Lives Matter” and has been co-opted into all kinds of rebuttals like “All Lives Matter,” “Christian Lives Matter,” “Blue Lives Matter” and the very convenient “(fill in the blank) Lives Matter. Turns out we all want our lives to matter.
But all of this is only pointing out the haunting feeling we all sense that actually lives increasingly don’t seem to matter all that much, in too many places, for too many reasons. When a society has to start shouting that life matters it can only mean too many people think some lives don’t.
But here’s my musing. The pronouncement that “(fill in the blank) Lives Matter” begs the real question: Why does any life matter really in the long run? If, as evolutionary theory demands, all life is merely the current result of a random set of chemical processes occurring without purpose over millions of years, then how can one life matter in the greater scheme of things? If life has no grand purpose, no design, no intentionality except to make the most of our split-second of time as measured against the vast backdrop of the universe, why does it matter? If we got here by chance, and are living in a dangerous world where too much wrong fills too many lives, and even monumental wealth can’t ward off disease, despair and desperation, then how does it really matter how we live our lives?
After all, whatever we call the fertilized egg growing in a mother’s womb, our society now doesn’t consider it a person. It is just a non-viable tissue mass that can be harvested like any other money crop. Apparently, fetal lives don’t matter.
And what can we say about those who, in promotion of their own view of which lives matter, go about taking life to make their point? When a police officer is ambushed because he wears a badge, and those who say certain lives matter pawn it off as justice, are we too blinded by passion and prejudice to see the abject irony? Nothing shows the meaninglessness of life more than ending it out of hatred for a certain kind of life that apparently shouldn’t matter.
In spite of all the sloganeering to the contrary, it looks to me that living matters less and less every day in our world. The numbers of those refusing to make the most of their lives are growing, as the rising suicide rate undeniably shows. And if we consider the value of life to be measured only by how we feel or what we can produce, then it comes as no surprise that “right to die” laws are proliferating. Life just doesn’t mean what it once did. Consequently, life is starting to matter less and less.
But this doesn’t have to be the case. Life can matter, and not just as a slogan for some particular cause. Every life matters because each one was created purposefully, by a loving Creator who has designed life as a means of representing him. The Bible states God created mankind – male and female – as his image bearers, designed to find purpose in this life and the next. In fact, this life has purpose as a prelude to the next. What we do with these years will determine how we will spend eternity.
When all is said and done, life matters because God gave it to each of us and holds us accountable for how we use it to uphold his standards, obey his commands, display his love, and steward his creation. And as we are faithful to him, we will find joy and purpose and satisfaction in this life, and pleasures forevermore in the next.
Local resident David Hegg is senior pastor of Grace Baptist Church. “Ethically Speaking” appears Sundays.