‘What Is the Meaning of Life?’

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It came out in one of those dad moments. You know the one … you are having a conversation with a server at a restaurant, and she makes the obligatory comment about any questions you might have before you order, and you let it slip.  

You can immediately feel the eyes of your child rolling, but it is too late.  

It is already out, and you can’t get it back.

The waitress, not wanting to hurt her tip, offers the familiar courtesy laugh and then seeks to answer. “I guess for me, the meaning of life is just to have fun. That is what it comes down to… just to enjoy my life.”

A few seconds pass, and she is gone, but our interaction gives me an opportunity to chat again with my son about perspective.  

“What did you think of her answer?”  

He responded, “I thought it was a bit selfish… there are others you can help. We should be looking to make a difference, not just have a good time.”

I said, “Definitely true, but there is more to it. Because we are convinced that this life is not the end, we have to understand that the meaning of this life will not be found in this life alone.”  

Although my son is a firm believer and is one of the few young people who believe the Bible (Barna says only 4 percent of the Z Generation has a Biblical worldview), it was still good to revisit those topics and reinforce the eternal perspective.

Is this all? Although there are some atheists in the world who believe there is no God, and life ends when the heart stops, we have found that the majority of people in the Western World don’t think that way. They either believe something else awaits, or they are unsure but really want to find the truth.  

This topic is a doorway you can utilize to have very important and very productive Kingdom conversations. When you have established a connection with someone (whether a waitress who sees kindness in your eyes, a co-worker you have been praying for or a child you have raised), I encourage you to talk with them about these questions that will open them up and will also allow you to speak into their life.  

Is this life all there is? That is a very invasive question, but a very important one. Understanding where someone stands on this topic could open the door to have a much more meaningful conversation. 

  • No matter how they answer, don’t judge and don’t debate. Let them answer as you pray that God would lead the rest of the discussion. 
  • If you believe there is more, how important is it to discover what lies ahead? You will find many people believe there is an afterlife; however, finding answers has not been their top priority. By reminding them that finding the answer to the question “Is this all there is?” is so important, you can encourage them to seek answers. Tell them that if they ask God to reveal Himself and the truth about eternity to them, He will do that.  

If eternity is real, how should that affect your perspective? It is amazing how many know the answer to this eternal question but forget to do anything about it. 

  • I have found that a great challenge to someone who believes in eternity but also believes that “the meaning of life is to have fun” is to remind them that it should affect the way they live and the decisions they make.  

What comes next? This is a great question to ask when having a meaningful conversation and a tool you can use to encourage others to think about God and eternity differently. 

  • It might allow you to share about God’s plan for salvation, or it might just allow you to plant a seed, which is what happened during my meal with my son. 

After a few kind and friendly exchanges with Lisa (always call your server by name), I left a generous tip, and as she was saying her goodbyes, I revisited the initial question.  

“Lisa, I know that you said the meaning of life was to have fun, and I hope you have an enjoyable life, but I believe there is more. I believe God created you on purpose for a purpose, and I am convinced that He loves you deeply. I really believe He wants you to discover His plan for your life and He wants to reveal His deep love for you. I am going to be praying for you, and I would encourage you to open up your heart and ask God to speak to you. I am absolutely sure He will.”

She thanked me and promised she would.  


Sean Dunn is the founder and president of Groundwire, a global ministry with the mission to lead every youth and young adult into a personal relationship with Jesus by leveraging current media channels to connect with them wherever they are. More than 116,000 made commitments to Christ through the organizations’ efforts in 2020. For more information, visit www.groundwire.net

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