The Purpose of Life
"Then he [Jesus] said to them, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions."1
It's an age-old question that mankind has been asking since time immemorial: "Where did I come from? Why am I here? And where am I going?" In other words, "What is the purpose of life?"
In Western society, for vast multitudes the purpose of life is materialism, the accumulation of riches and material possessions that, without a deep spirituality, will ultimately lead to soul hunger and spiritual emptiness. Even Christians are not exempt from this hunger for material possessions. Results from a survey of 3,450 lay people and pastors by the National Council of Churches of Christ, conclude: "As people see it, the main thing blocking church support simply is a surpassing urge for more affluent living. Rival attractions seem to be gaining more of the religious dollar."2
For hedonists the purpose of life is finding happiness and yet, more often than not, searching for happiness as an end in itself is like looking for the proverbial pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
Sadly, for multiplied millions in some third-world countries their purpose in life is simply struggling for survival, and that is understandable.
Perhaps the highest purpose of man is found in the Westminster Catechism which says: "The chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever."
Referring to our souls, in Living a Life that Matters, Harold Kushner writes, "Our souls are not hungry for fame, comfort, wealth, or power. Our souls are hungry for meaning, for the sense that we have figured out how to live so that our lives matter, so that the world will be at least a little bit different for our having passed through it."3
If our chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever, we will achieve this by "feeding our souls on spiritual food" and serving others that will, in turn, make our life matter. We will not have lived in vain. And eternity waits to welcome us home with our Savior's words, "Well done, good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Lord."
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, help me love you with all my heart, mind and strength, and so live that my life will matter and make a difference in the life of many others for all eternity. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. Luke 12:15 (NIV).
2. Adapted from Dean R. Hoge and David A. Roozen, "Some Sociological Conclusions about Church Trends," in Understanding Church Growth and Decline. Cited on www.eSermons.com.
3. Cited by Michael Josephson in Character Counts www.charactercounts.org.