What’s the purpose of my life?
Why am I here?
I’ve had questions like these rolling around in my brain many times in my life. Have these questions ever kept you awake at night?
As I read what God has to tell me in the book of Ecclesiastes, it sounds like a review of some of the doubts and discouragements that have filled my mind at different times of my life.
I’m going to die – we’re all going to die – and it all ends, it all goes away. So what’s the point?
God talks about all the emptiness we can feel here ‘under the sun’ –
- the emptiness of human knowledge – “the more knowledge, the more grief.” Eccl 1:18b
- the emptiness of searching for pleasure – what does pleasure accomplish?
- the emptiness of achieving goals…and then what?
- the emptiness of working hard….and then leaving it all behind.
- the emptiness of owning ‘stuff’ and more stuff – chasing after the wind.
- the emptiness of chasing after money – “Whoever loves money never has enough” Eccl. 5:10a.
- the emptiness of rebellion – “Yet because the wicked do not fear God, it will not go well with them.” Eccl 8:13a.
That’s a lot of emptiness, isn’t it? Do you feel that emptiness sometimes? I used to before I understood why I’m here.
Throughout Ecclesiastes, God gives me hints about the purpose of my life by repeatedly using the phrase ‘under the sun’ to describe the location of the emptiness. This means that all of this emptiness is true of earth when God, who is over the sun, is not involved.
Then in Ecclesiastes 12: 13-14, God comes right out and says “Now all has been heard: here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. For God will bring every deed into judgement, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.”
There it is. Fear God and keep his commandments. First , fearing God is living our lives with a combination of respect, honor and reverence for God and submitting our will to his will.
And what commandments are we supposed to keep? Jesus fulfilled all the law of the Old Testament when he came to earth and he left us with these two commandments – “Love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22: 37-39.
Love God and love others. That’s why I’m here. That’s why you’re here.
Can it really be that simple?
Yes, it can be that simple. Loving God brings his light and grace and mercy into your life and into my life here under the sun. Loving others lets the people around us feel God’s love reaching out through us and it brings his light into their lives here under the sun.
God fills our emptiness and gives our lives meaning and purpose when we focus on loving God and loving others.
Thank you for being so clear about our purpose for being here on earth, Abba Father.