Yesterday I was scanning a group of essays about everything from Covid-19 to a new cookbook from the Middle East. And then I saw an essay with this title.
What is the purpose of life?
My curiosity was stirred. I have always been interested in people’s perspective of life’s purpose, especially people who are not looking at it from a biblical worldview.
The essay was long and I read it carefully. I wanted to understand what the author was saying, The essay went off on many sidetracks. The purpose is to find that one person to love … but if you can’t find that person, then what?. The purpose is to care about other people, and that makes sense, we should care about other people. The purpose is to give, and again giving makes sense, we should be people of generosity. All these goals have good elements but none of them totally answer the question.
I then looked at additional websites and discovered that purpose is tied to survival. “Survival,” said one writer, ” is the only reason for life.” That sounds rather frustrating to me. If my only purpose is to get up each morning, make it through the day only to face another day. That’s not much to look forward to.
When I worked at Awana I did blog posts about children who live in third-world-country slums. They spent their days looking for a crust of bread or a cup of clean water (if they even had an idea of what clean water was all about.) Yes, their purpose was survival but one look at their sad eyes and gaunt faces and you knew it didn’t bring them much joy.
Survival didn’t seem to answer the question.
Solomon told us about the futility of life hundreds and hundreds of years ago, All is emptiness,
Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher,
vanity of vanities! All is vanity. (Ecclesiastes 1:2)
If even the wisest man of all time saw the futility of life – what is our purpose? (Not that I hadn’t thought about this before,)
In my opinion, three questions must be answered.
Who Am I? Seems as if we want to identify our purpose, we need to identify ourselves.
Usually if someone asks us who we are, we tell them our name or occupation, But that’s not who we are. A change in name or occupation does not change our identity (except in an outward sense).
The Lord says that once we trust Him as Savior, we become His child and a new creation in Him.
But to all who did receive Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God. (John 1:12)
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (1 Corinthians 5:17)
So as a Christ-follower, I am a new creation, a child of God. And that’s my identity! My position in Christ!
Why Am I Here? Our second question needs to be why we’re here. Is it just to survive?
We are here to glorify God.
“Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” (Revelation 4:11)
Not just sometimes, but in everything we do.
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (I Corinthians 10:31)
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10)
And the third question – Where am I going?
As Christians, we have assurance about where we’re going. Another interesting study is looking at articles about how those who don’t believe in God or heaven explain heaven to children and the many tactics they use to justify getting around the truth.
But we know the truth.
But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, (Philippians 3:20).
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to Myself, that where I am you may be also. (John 14;1-4)
On another track – but not really. I was reading a forum of children’s ministry workers whose churches have started up again. They were sharing with each other how it went … and some of the questions kids have asked. They found that they were dealing with several anxiety-filled children. “Are we all going to die?” “Is this the end of the world?” “Will I see my grandma again?” Of course, children are anxious, we’re all a little anxious.
The children around us … in our own homes or those we teach may have those same questions. How are we going to answer? Do we begin to teach them the true purpose of life? Do we teach them that we are children of God, here to glorify God and serve HIm? Do we teach them that we have a home in heaven?
Or do we swim around the truth like one author I read, hoping his son didn’t ask him anymore questions about life’s purpose for a long, long time?
I’ll admit that this last month has been hard. Dealing with feeling unwell because of the cancer, covid-19 is sometimes (but not often) forgotten. I think, If I felt better, I could clean out the drawers, tweak my novel, write meaningful notes to friends but instead I go to the couch and watch another cooking show or more barrel racing.
LIfe is not always easy. The Lord doesn’t promise us that, but no matter how difficult it gets, we know that we are His children, that we have true purpose in glorifying God and that we have an eternal home.
That’s purpose. The purpose we can embrace and pass along to our kids.