What is Life?

(Genesis 2:4-7)

By Rev. Dr. Sergio Arevalo, Jr.

A message during the 81st Birthday celebration of Rev. Philip Mendiola

on February 26, 2017 at Santa Ana United Methodist Church, Santa Ana, CA.


A lot of FB friends greeted Rev. Philip Mendiola and let me read some of them and afterwards I will give this copy to Pastor Mendiola.

Life According to Some People

Our topic for today is about life. What’s life? If I ask you, what’s life? I also asked my FB friends, what is life? And I also researched about the meaning of life. And I got several answers, for a start I want to mention few of them:

  • According to Isagani Casambros, “When we give food and clothes to the needy and hungry that is life. When we seek justice for the opposed and marginalized that is life. When we give our life as an instrument of God for the sake of others that is life.”
  • Earl Robinson said, “Life is finding your purpose and living it to the fullest.”
  • Elmer Zapata Borromeo posted that “Life is a continuous struggle.”
  • Elgin Villanueva Veneracion argued that “Life is a gift, an investment and a journey. It gives meaning to death.”
  • “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself,” George Bernard Shaw
  • Albert Einstein argued that “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”
  • Fyodor Dostoyevsky, gave a different perspective, “The mystery of human existence lies not in just staying alive, but in finding something to live for.”

Life is God Given

Genesis hints that life is the breath of God the creator. After he created the first man, he consequently graced Adam the breath of life! Life is not given by anybody, it is a grace of God. We did not work for it, we did not pray for it, and we did not earn for it. The breath of life has just came up.

Our fathers blasted anywhere from 100-300 millions of sperm cells in a single ejaculation to the ovary of our mothers, but only one sperm cell and egg cell are merged to become a living being.

The Purpose of Life?

You might ask, what’s the purpose of our life?  Verse 5 says, “no one to till the ground.” We might deduce here that God created us human beings because we have purpose in life or roles in the mission of God. Adam and Eve were created to become stewards of God’s mission.

Now you know why Pastor Philip is enjoying long life. It’s because he is still pursuing God’s mission wherever he goes! Earl Robinson is right when he said, “Life is finding your purpose and living it to the fullest.” We have life if we are living and pursuing the purpose of our being. In other words, we can say that we are alive if we are moving to do our mission entrusted to us by our Lord.  As Albert Einstein once said “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”

Our mission is manifold and different. As in the church we have pastors, musicians, singers, cleaners, cooks, etc. The Lord created and gave us life not only for one role. God has instead given us many gifts and talents for us to pursue and execute God’s mission. Our duty might be unique and dangerous, but everybody has received those gifts for us to pursue God’s mission. You might ask, what’s your purpose in life? Listen to your inner self and inner mind, and God will help you to remember his will for you. Socrates once said, “An unexamined life is not worth living.” And Langston Hughes said, “Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die. Life is a broken-winged bird, that cannot fly.”


A philosophy professor stood before his class with some items on the table in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks, about 2 inches in diameter.

He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles, of course, rolled into the open areas between the rocks.

He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up the remaining open areas of the jar.

He then asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous “Yes.”

“Now,” said the professor, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The rocks are the important things – your family, your partner, your health, your children – things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter – like your job, your house, your car. The sand is everything else, the small stuff.”

“If you put the sand into the jar first,” he continued, “there is no room for the pebbles or the rocks. The same goes for your life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take your partner out dancing. There will always be time to go to work, clean the house, give a dinner party, or fix the disposal.”

“Take care of the rocks first – the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.”


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