We can trust in God’s love and the generosity of God’s grace to help us accomplish this difficult and most important task.
We human beings, gifted as we are with intellect and will, quite naturally ask questions. Some questions are simple and are rooted in simple curiosity about things. Others are difficult precisely because they are in search of answers to the most important and most difficult questions we can ask. One of those questions is, “What is the meaning and purpose of my life?
This is not a new question, of course. It has been asked by great philosophers and theologians, and by regular folks throughout human history. Why? Because it is the most important question any of us can ask. For Christians, the answer is both clear and very difficult, in worldly terms. The scriptures give very definitive, clear, and challenging answers to questions concerning the meaning and the purpose of life. We are challenged to meditate on those answers, and more importantly, to live our daily lives in accord with them. Of course, there are many answers to this question to be found in scripture, but let us look at just two of them here.
Matthew 25:34-45 gives us a very clear answer to the question of our meaning and purpose in this life. He offers us a question of his own, “What did you do for me in your life? This question concerns the ultimate meaning and purpose of our lives. Indeed, I often think of this passage as being the final exam question we will all be asked when we die. Jesus answers his own question with this: When you fed the hungry, gave drink to the thirsty, welcomed and cared for the stranger, clothed the naked, cared for the sick and visited the imprisoned, “Amen, I say to you, what you did for the least brothers or sisters of mine, you did for me” (Mt. 25:40). He also tells us that if we don’t do these things for the least of his brothers or sisters, for whatever reason, we will have failed our meaning and purpose in life, and there will be consequences.
The Sermon on the Mount, Mt. 5-7, is worthy of our contemplation on the question concerning the ultimate meaning and purpose of our lives. What kind of answers do we find here? At the beginning of Matthew’s account, we are given the Beatitudes. The Latin term “beatitudo” translates into the English as blessedness, or happiness, or bliss. It is a state of joy associated with being blessed. Jesus’ answers here are in complete contradiction to the answers that the world typically gives. He tells us that it is the “poor in spirit’, in other words, the humble, those who mourn, those who are meek, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness in their lives, those who are merciful, those who are clean of heart, those who are peacemakers, and those who are persecuted, or insulted and suffer every kind of evil falsely because of their faith in Jesus, are the ones who have found meaning and purpose for their lives. It is they who find true and lasting happiness and blessings in this world and in the next.
These scripture passages, just two among many, reveal clear and precise answers to the question: What is the ultimate meaning and purpose of life for a Christian believer? A meaningful and purposeful life is found in coming to know, to love, and to serve God with our whole heart, our whole soul, our whole mind, and our whole strength, and our neighbors as our self. And we must do this in the midst of the world’s brokenness, even in the face of the world’s contempt. We can not do this alone, but we can trust in God’s love and the generosity of God’s grace to help us accomplish this difficult and most important task. Thanks be to God!SKM: below-content placeholder