Get to the Point!
By Elliott Ryan
I handed in that book report with pride. I was certain
I would get an A. We had gone to the library and were all told
to pick any book of our choosing for our report. I picked Animal
Farm by George Orwell and had really enjoyed reading it.
It is much easier to write a book report about a book you enjoyed
reading. I was confident my seventh grade English teacher would
see the hours of work that were put into that assignment. I wrote
about how these animals took over a farm, chased off the humans
and set up their own society. At first everything seemed great.
But eventually the animals couldn't get along and began feuding
with each other. It was a cute little book. And I said so in that
meticulously well-written book report.
A couple weeks later, our book reports were handed back to us.
My paper got a B-. Now, of course, a B is nothing to be upset
about. But my B- was only a point away from a C+. I knew this
paper wasn't C work. My teacher had placed some comments at the
end of my report. She wrote, "Well-written. But what about
Communism? It seems you missed the point."
See, what I didn't know as a seventh grader reading that book
is that Orwell wrote it as a parable against Communism and totalitarian
dictatorships. But that wasn't actually explained in the book.
And while I did know about Communism, my understanding of it at
the time was not developed enough to see that it was the meaning
of what was written. So, all I saw a cute story about what would
happen if animals tried to take over the world. While animals
running the world would be a mess, I had missed the point of the
I think there are a lot of people in the world who can relate
to that story on a much more serious level. I see around me countless
adults and teenagers alike who go through life missing the point.
People are searching for meaning in their lives. This is a topic
that is even popular among believers as is evidenced by the many
books in Christian bookstores that teach readers how to have their
best, "purpose-driven life" now.
Many people try to create their own purpose for life. They live
for pleasure (Life is a party). They live for materialism (He
who dies with the most toys wins). They live for achievement,
fame, popularity, relationships, and other belief systems that
fit on bumper stickers. It is kind of sad to see so many people
missing the point.
That is especially obvious around Christmas time. The whole point
of the holiday should be celebrating the greatest gift any of
us have ever received. God sent His Son so we could be reconciled
to Him. But for most of us at Christmas, the excitement is over
gifts that are much less awesome. The gift of salvation is infinitely
more exciting than a new XBox, some DVDs, or jewelry. But society
at large seems oblivious to the point of it all.
If what we believe is true (and of course I believe that it is),
then the only point to life is our relationship to Christ. If
He is who He said He was, then nothing else has lasting significance.
Our successes and failures in this life are only temporary. Both
our pleasure and our pain is only fleeting. The whole purpose
to our lives is to grow closer to Christ.
The author of Hebrews wrote, "Just as man is destined to
die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed
once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear
a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those
who are waiting for him" (Hebrews 9:27-28).
When I get to the throne of God and face judgment, I don't want
to hear God tell me that while I certainly lived a busy life,
it seems I missed the point.
peace with God.
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