I think most everyone wants to feel like they are doing something worthwhile, like their life has meaning. In messiah this is great, in the world this is a problem.
This is a big driver in the world. A common reason that so many people aspire to be movie stars is that they desire fame, which is really a desire to be considered important, and to be remembered. Once in a while I'll watch a movie or TV show from years ago and see some familiar face. I'll ask myself, "who is that?" Then I'll try to bring up a name in my head. I had that happen last night, in fact. Perhaps that happens with you sometimes. Anyway, I saw an old TV show and the guest actor seemed so familiar. I just couldn't remember a name. Finally, I saw it in the credits: Claude Akins. He seemed to be in everything when I was young. Now, even his memory is quickly being buried under the sands of time. So it goes. Often we hear that such and such an actor was "immortalized" by their role in such and such a movie. This is, of course, nonsense. Actors die just like everybody else, and while their name may linger a little longer in the collective consciousness, this is really no more than a puff of smoke hanging in the air, until it soon dissipates into nothingness.
Presidents, politicians and kings all have huge egos and all seek to be immortalized in history. For example, as President Obama's time in office was about to expire, we were hearing a lot about his "legacy" in the news. A president's legacy is essentially what he will be remembered for. You know, like the legacy of the immortal Chester A. Arthur. Oh, you don't know anything about the legacy of Chester Arthur? He was the 21st president of the United States. Pretty impressive, huh?
Chester Arthur was president less than 200 years ago, and already his memory is a big nothing burger. Historically, rulers have hated that effect of time, so have tried to make some longer lasting statement to keep their name alive. In fact, some have gone to amazing extremes to try and insure that the world will not forget them. The best example of this may be the great pyramid, which is said to weigh some 6.5 million tons. We are told that the great pyramid was built to a height of 480.9 feet high, and was the tallest structure in the world for millennia. It is claimed that the great pyramid was built as the tomb of pharaoh Khufu, to memorialize him forever. It hasn't exactly worked out that way. While we all know the great pyramid, Khufu certainly is not a household name.
"All is vanity and a striving after wind" says the book of Ecclesiastes, speaking about all human activity apart from the will of the Creator. This seems like a pessimistic view to many unbelievers, even though their centerpiece philosophy, evolution, can offer them nothing but a meaningless universe.
The meaninglessness of an evolutionary future was driven home for me recently when I watched William Shatner in the documentary “The Truth Is In The Stars”. In the documentary Shatner, Star Trek’s original captain, examines the impact of the iconic television series on science and space exploration. Such famous Trekkies as Whoopi Goldberg, Ben Stiller, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Seth Macfarlane, and Michio Kaku extol the Star Trek vision of the future in interviews led by Shatner. Star Trek is the evolutionary mythology that has inspired NASA scientists. It is what they are going for, according to their own words in the video. Indeed it is the most optimistic vision of the future evolution has to offer.
While the documentary talks about the impact of Star Trek, the greater subject of the video is its theme: "The Truth is in the Stars." And what truth is that? Well, it is the evolutionary religion, that we are all made of stardust, so we are all one. I thought Shatner might even shed a tear or two as he told us how we are all one in the stars, and how our atoms go back into nature so that we are never really gone. That is the evolutionary idea of immortality. Doesn't that just warm your heart, to know that your atoms will be food for maggots, to then be scattered into the universe forever? This is supposed to give us meaning and purpose? Perhaps Star Trek is not so optimistic after all.
It got worse though. The whole documentary was a buildup to a final interview in which Shatner interviewed Stephen Hawking in his home in Cambridge. According to Hawking it turns out man will never have the "warp drive" of Star Trek because Hawking has proven man can not go faster than the speed of light. Of course, without warp drive there is no Star Trek future. In effect, Stephen Hawking was saying the whole Star Trek mythology is really a sham that can never be realized. Shatner asked if someday science will give us immortality, to which Hawking responded; "nothing in the universe is immortal." In the end Shatner and Hawking were talking about how meaningless everything is. Do you see that? They've got nothing - nothing at all. This is the real truth they see in the stars.
All of this brings me to one phrase in Messiah's parable of the vineyard, in Matthew 20. The phrase: "others standing idle in the marketplace". In the parable the "marketplace" is the world and those who are standing idle are all of earth's people who are not working in the vineyard of the Master. Now, a marketplace is a busy place, as is the world. Yet, all the activity amounts to being idle, in other words, doing nothing of value - meaningless. How ironic that even evolution agrees that all of the world's activity is ultimately useless.
Messiah is saying that only the workers in His vineyard are seen as really doing anything of value, for which they receive a real reward. It is only what we do with and for Him that counts as anything of value, and the reward is the thing that eludes evolution, namely, immortality in His Kingdom.
This is an awesome parable, and we will be exploring its depth tonight at 8 PM CST at Tsiyon.Net. Come and join us!
Eliyahu ben David
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