It’s an eternal question: “Why?” Why are we here? What is our purpose? These questions are often considered impossible and unanswerable, right up there with “Why is the sky blue?” and “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” There is something in human nature that makes us long for a purpose. Many seek to find this fulfillment through joy on earth but are never satisfied. However, those of us that are Christians know that God can answer the timeless question, “Why?”
It is so easy to look at others in the world and think that their lifestyles look sofun. They seem to be able to do anything they want; they don’t have to be concerned with what they wear, watch, or say. Their lives are carefree, right?
Take some time to read Ecclesiastes, especially chapter 2. Solomon tried out this carefree lifestyle—in fact, he says that he “withheld not his heart from any joy”(Ecc. 2:10). He had everything he could possibly want and more, and yet he still tells us: “I said of laughter, It is mad; and of mirth, What doeth it?” (Ecc. 2:2). In other words, he had decided that laughter was foolish and he could not find anything that made him happy. If Solomon was sitting across from us, telling us how unhappy he was, we would think he was crazy! He had everything he ever wanted, yet here he was, depressed and cynical. How was this possible? He was looking “under the sun” —only at the physical, earthly joys. Even though he “had it all” from an earthly perspective, from a spiritual perspective, he had nothing—no purpose and no enduring joy.
Solomon tried out the lifestyle that, sadly, many people find appealing: a life serving himself. He looked for his purpose within himself and he came up empty. As he looked back on all the wrong places that he had searched for fulfillment, he realized that he had been looking in the wrong places.
Solomon realized later what was truly important. He tells us he learned to “fear God, and keep his commandments; for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecc. 12:13). We are here to serve God—it is our purpose. So many people spend their lives searching for fulfillment and a purpose in life, but it has always been in God and serving Him. With this purpose comes a blessing of joy far greater than anything that anyone else has to offer. Because we as Christians understand and accept this purpose of serving God, we have an enduring and eternal joy that others can’t know. We don’t have to live a life of uncertainty, always “searching for ourselves” or looking for a purpose in our lives. Instead, we are given the greatest joy anyone on earth can know! We find our fulfillment and our purpose in the lifestyle offered to us by a relationship with God: a life of serving others and serving our Creator.
This purpose gives us an enduring joy that is hard to put into words, but Rom. 5:1-2 puts it perfectly: “Being therefore justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ; through whom also we have had our access by faith into this grace wherein we stand; and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”
God answers the “unanswerable” question of “Why?” By living for God, our lives have purpose. Our purpose gives us peace, hope, and joy that affect every part of our lives. Despite all his earthly riches, Solomon determined that true joy and fulfillment was found in a relationship with God and that the joys on this earth are more worthwhile when they are put in perspective (Ecc. 2:24). Not only has God given us joy on this earth, but he also offers eternal joy that awaits us if we live for Him. It only makes sense that our purpose is to give our lives back to Him, and in this purpose we can find joys far greater than the riches of King Solomon.