Category Archives: Mere Christianity

We’re Kind of Like The Minions Looking for a Purpose

In the latest Minions movie ‘ Minions’ –  we see a glimpse of the created purpose of the Minions. Or in the evolutionary framework the movie creators went for – the purpose they evolved towards desiring. Either way… The theme of the movie is their quest to fulfill their purpose – to serve an evil master.

Minions and theology?
Throughout the film’s beginnings you see them trying with various masters to quick or delayed ends with bad results. They missed the mark. They eventually found themselves in a remote ice village. They made comfortable homes for themselves. They had a comfortable existence – but they were torn up inside. They were listless and purposeless. So finally one left their home to go search out for an evil master to rule over them… The rest is the main point of the movie.

That movie and a conversation at an evening service at church got me thinking of a parallel between those minions, living their daily lives – plodding along not really joyfully, sometimes sadly missing a component of their purpose and the human being set apart from Christ… It’s a strange analogy perhaps. If you’ve seen the movie with your kids (Christian Liberty, right? 😉 ), you can picture that longing I described above… I think it sums up the human experience apart from Christ. (That doesn’t mean there can’t be happiness, success, etc. Common grace exists and the world benefits from it, but it is fleeting – temporary. Vanity as we’ll see in Ecclesiastes at the end)

We Aren’t So Different Than Those Listless Minions

I subscribe to the Second London Confession – but the Baptist Catechism that often accompanies that is lacking two questions found in the Westminster Shorter Catechism, I think..

Q. 1. What is the chief end of man?
A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.

Q. 2. What rule hath God given to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him?
A. The Word of God, which is contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him.

This isn’t just the word of men from the 1600s. This is scriptural truth – written by God Himself through human hands.

We were created to glorify God. Romans 11:33-36 is one of many places in scripture where this purpose is spelled out (bolding is from me, scripture is from ESV):

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!

“For who has known the mind of the Lord,
    or who has been his counselor?”
“Or who has given a gift to him
    that he might be repaid?”

For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

See that? All that is – is created under his will (from him), at his hand (through him) and for his glory (to him). We are, as scripture says elsewhere – clay vessels – and he is the potter. This doesn’t mean we are automatons – we are given a free agency and allowed to will and to act. But we are all created in His image. It is our duty to give him worship and adoration. It is our purpose to do these things. Not because he is a selfish God looking for a stroke of his ego – but because he is that he is. He is the almighty creator king over this world. And this glory is due to him. It’s the tune we were created to and sound the best at, too.

Our hearts and our bodies and our minds. They were made to fellowship and commune with him and to bring him glory.

What is life like without God? What is a life that doesn’t glorify God?

It can be a fine life from human standards. There can be wealth. Health. Wonderful memories. Family fun. Tasty food. Great music. Moments of selflessness with wonderful acts of service to others. There can be sad times but even the sad times can be buttressed around happy memories of the loved on you mourn, or the catharsis from letting all that sad out. If you ask the psychologists of the western world – if you ask the wealth managers of the world – a life apart from God can certainly match the “Life is Good” slogan you see everywhere.

Except. it isn’t.

Apart from a right relationship with our creator, we have a hole that Pascal described as:

There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus.

Or Lewis hinted at in Mere Christianity with:

If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.

You see. It’s there. This vacuum. This sense of otherworldness.  We may deny its existence. We may fill the gap with stuff, activities, accumulations, etc. We may deny the power of this feeling – but we all feel it.

We were made for another world we were made for a world in which our relationship with God was complete and our communion with him unbroken. One where our work was a gift from him and a way to return glory to him.

We lost our way though. In the garden, sin seeped in. Adam, acting as our representative as our federal head, allowed sin to touch this world and our hearts. Our natures have been corrupt ever since. Our work tarnished with sweat, agony and toil. Our efforts focused on ourselves. Our selfishness and pride a chief end of most when we think about it. We know something isn’t right so we try and do what seems natural to us – we try and make the scales tip more to the “good” side than the “bad” side. But it’s all for not apart from Christ. The end of this life is the same every time. We’ve gone astray and we are under sin. We can’t not sin, and our punishment is just, our end is deserved. It’s Grace to the believer that isn’t fair – that is undeserved or unearned.

Ecclesiastes 6 really gets into the pointlessness of life “under the sun” instead of under God. Some highlights from that chapter:

There is an evil that I have seen under the sun, and it lies heavy on mankind: a man to whom God gives wealth, possessions, and honor, so that he lacks nothing of all that he desires, yet God does not give him power to enjoy them, but a stranger enjoys them. This is vanity; it is a grievous evil. If a man fathers a hundred children and lives many years, so that the days of his years are many, but his soul is not satisfied with life’s good things, and he also has no burial, I say that a stillborn child is better off than he. For it comes in vanity and goes in darkness, and in darkness its name is covered. (Ecclesiastes 5:1-4 ESV)

This is the discontent life. It would have been better off to not have that life in the first place – it is wasted. It is vain. Striving for the wind as it says later in the same chapter.  Without God – Sartre, Kierkegaard or their contemporaries in existentialism nailed it –  life is absurd, irrational even – but here we are stuck in it. Might as well make the most of it for our short existence in it.. Pointless beyond whatever meaning we individually give it – then we cease to exist. Rinse and repeat.. That’s life under the sun instead of under God.

Just Minions – looking to find some purpose in our lives instead of a evil master. But look at what Paul says in Romans 1 or 2 – or what the Psalmists say. Our hearts are given an ability to take in grandeur – to know right from wrong, to look at the vastness of the created universe and desire to explore it. These desires – these things we know innately – these aren’t some impulses from some evolutionary framework or some primitive survival instinct. The ability to get lost in a sunset, enjoy a cool fall day under a tree shedding its leaves. This isn’t some chemical reaction refined over millenia. It’s our soul crying out to do what it was created to do. It’s a desire to glorify the creator. To stand in awe at his creation. To fill that vacuum in Pascal’s equation above.

I’m not writing this to try and sway you to Christianity. I believe this isn’t a faith you can be talked into, only made alive to by a sovereign act of God. I’m not writing this to emotionally manipulate you into saying some prayer that you may or may not mean. I am saying this to ask you – do you feel that heartbeat longing for more inside? Do you sense that maybe you are made for another world? Do you think there is more to your existence than existing?  Maybe that’s God beginning a work in you! Cry out to God if so. Don’t fall down and worship the animals or the plants – cry out to the creator God and ask Him to reveal himself to you. Ask him to grant you eyes to see, ears to hear and a heart to receive. Check out that short video from John Piper I have here on my site. Don’t stifle that feeling. Don’t stifle that sense, maybe that is God beginning a work of conviction in your heart, chase after Him and see if it is.