Is there any meaning to life?
Most of us have asked the question: “Does life have a purpose?” I think most of us are wondering though, “Does my life have a purpose? When we ask, “Is there any meaning to life?” we are wondering, “Is there any meaning to my life?”
We want to know – what’s the goal? What should I be doing? Are my actions worth it in the long run? Am I on the right track? Is there anything guiding this along? Is there any bigger, greater, grander story that gives cohesion?
Those are all find questions. But, I’d like to start by looking at a similiar, but slightly different question that I think will give us clarity.
What is God’s purpose?
I ask that question, because, ultimately, I think it’s the question that matters the most AND it will have application to our lives too.
A couple Bible verses come to mind here. First, 1 Timothy 2:3-4 “This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” That’s God’s purpose – the salvation of all people.
And then there’s a verse that is familiar to many. John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He send His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him would not perish, but have everlasting life.” God’s purpose and goal was to save the world, out of love, by sending His Son Jesus to die, and to rise, and one day to return.
God’s purpose wasn’t to make you rich quick. It isn’t to bless you in all the ways you want to be blessed. God’s goal is not to create a bunch of servant robots who do His bidding. His goal, His purpose, His meaning in life is the salvation of the people He created out of love. It was a goal He was so committed to that He sent His own Son to die on a cross.
God’s purpose infuses our lives with meaning.
“But, what about me” – maybe you are thinking? Where does that leave us? Well, I think it changes everything.
Because God is the Savior, it means we don’t have to be. You don’t have to be super-mom, or super-dad, or a super-friend who rescues your kids or the people around you. It also means you don’t have to save yourself. God has done all the work necessary for salvation. Talk about lifting a burden off of our shoulders.
Any talk of meaning and purpose has to start there: With the confident trust that our eternities are in God’s hands, and that He did everything necessary on our behalf. That frees us from so many pressures.
But, it also instructs us. If that’s God’s purpose, maybe (or definitely) it should be our purpose too. Maybe, (or definitely) we should be about the business of loving our neighbors just like God loves us and them too.
I think our meaning and purpose in life is that simple: Loving God (who first loved us) and loving our neighbors.
The amazing thing is that we are free to do that in any number of ways. Of course, God’s Law will instruct us. Something are off limits – there are certain no-can-dos. But, within that there is so much we each can do to reflect God’s loving purpose in our own little worlds.
I think sometimes we obsess and worry way more than we should about our purpose. Should I take this job or that job? Should I go to School #1 or School #1? Well, can you love your neighbor in both? Do both present an opportunity to reflect God’s love? Then you are free to choose! You don’t have to worry if it’s a part of some grander, master plan or if you choose the wrong one that you might be disappointing God. Yes, He’s given us His Law which directs us, but within that there is so much freedom. Freedom that frees us from the burden and worry of “messing up” or making the wrong decision. We are freed from asking, “What’s my purpose or my meaning” questions that are focused inward on ourselves – to asking, “How can I love the people around me as I’ve been loved by Jesus?”
God’s purpose, accomplished in Jesus, is to save the world He created out of love. It is your purpose to trust in that amazing act of love, to believe it’s for you, and to reflect it to the world.
If you like what you read and want to read more, check out our book, “Growing Up: In, With, and Under Jesus”