We are not meant to labour for more possessions, Jason discovered
Crammed in an over-crowded bus for over two hours between school and home in Manila, Jason Tan had plenty of time to ponder the meaning of life.
“One day, I was seized by the futility of this routine, studying and wasting many hours in traffic each day,” Jason begins.
He asked himself, “Why do I do what I do? If there is any meaning to this life that I am living, why do I feel that all my labour is arbitrary?”
Jason searched for a reason to justify what he was doing.
He told himself, “After my studies I would go into business and be a successful entrepreneur, buy all the things I want, a large house, expensive car and the latest technology, to make me happy.”
“Then,” he recalls, “I suddenly realized that I could own everything in the world and still never find meaning in life.”
As he had been raised in a Christian home, Richard remembered that Solomon, an immeasurably rich king of Israel, wrote of the futility of pursuing material things in the book of Ecclesiastes.
“That night I shuddered at the thought that I could go through all the motions to get a high paying job, pursue the pleasures of this world, and yet my life would still be meaningless,” says Jason.
This thought so paralyzed Jason that he could not make himself do anything else until he found meaning in what he was doing.
“That weekend, I started reading my Bible in hope that God would help me find meaning.
“Little by little, the lessons I learned about Jesus Christ since I was a child became clearer and clearer. I realised that the meaning of life cannot be divorced from the one who gave and created life.”
As he devoured the Bible, Jason discovered that “I exist for God’s pleasure — to live my life according to how God designed it to be.
“God created life that I may know him and to enjoy Him who created it. But sin destroyed this wonderful relationship between God and human beings. As a result, human beings lost the meaning of life.”
Jason now understood why he could find no lasting satisfaction in whatever he could do.
“The Bible makes it plain that Jesus Christ came to restore this relationship between God and human beings. That meaning in life can only be regained by living a life for God.”
Coming to the account of Jesus’ crucifixion, Jason read that one of the criminals crucified beside Jesus said, “Lord, please remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
Jesus answered, “Today, you will be with me in paradise.”
In his small room, Jason recalls praying that same prayer: “Lord, if this person, a criminal, is given assurance of salvation, even though he had no way of correcting what he did wrong, then when I die please remember me and take me with you to paradise.”
From that day Jason became a serious follower of Jesus Christ.
As he explains, “I was no longer living for my aspirations but for Jesus Christ.
“My purpose became to be a witness to the life changing power of Jesus — to help others find significance in their life by introducing them to Jesus, His love and offer of fellowship.”
Summarising his understanding of the Bible, Jason believes that “God’s original purpose for life was for human beings to freely enjoy life by having a right relationship with God.
“When a child runs away from home, any parent knows that no amount of wealth could fill the vacuum created by a lost relationship. I had been trying to fill that vacuum within my soul that only God could fill.
“When I prayed that prayer, I was brought back into the relationship God wants with all of us; to be God my father and He made me whole.
“No amount of wealth that this world could offer could possibly match the joy I felt when I became a child of God.”
After his schooling, Jason abandoned his ambition to be a wealthy entrepreneur, but in less than five years, he found even his job as a sales manager unfulfilling and meaningless.
“I wanted to do something that if I died doing it I would have no regrets at all,” he explains.
“The only thing that would give absolute meaning to my whole existence was to live and die for Jesus Christ.”
He is now occupied in what he calls “a greater calling to be a witness for Jesus” as a pastor and professor of theology. “I want to tell people that God loves them and invite them to have a right relationship with Him, that they may find purpose and meaning in life.”
For those interested, Jason advises people to “begin your journey by reading the Bible and learn what God has in store for you.”