What is My Life's Purpose?
Have you asked yourself the purpose or meaning of life? This is such a big question that many seek for answers to.
I went around and did a survey of random people asking this question. The common responses were just being happy, going to school, finding a job, traveling around the world and making a lot of money. As I reflected on all these answers, it just seems like things are all very temporary and unfulfilling. It’s kind of sad to think that all life is just to go to school, find a job, eat, and just hang out and watch Netflix. One thing that I realized was that we are all created beings. All creation has a purpose, am I right?
From an ant to a cell phone to a building, all serve some sort of purpose. It’s very interesting that the highest intellectual beings in the world do not know they’re created with purpose. In order for us to know our purpose, we must go to the creator for the answer.
God, who is the creator of all life, helps us to understand our purpose through His Word. Today we’re going to read through and understand our purpose through the book of Ecclesiastes. Ecclesiastes is a book inspired by God, but written and recorded by King Solomon, the son of David. Solomon was known for his great wisdom, and he wrote down all the wisdom he gained in this book of Ecclesiastes — Ecclesiastes, meaning speaker or preacher in a church.
If we go to Ecclesiastes 1:1-11, it writes, “The words of the Teacher, son of David, king in Jerusalem: ‘Meaningless! Meaningless!’ says the Teacher. ‘Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.’ What does man gain from all his labor at which he toils under the sun? Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever.
The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises. The wind blows to the south and turns to the north; round and round it goes, ever returning on its course. All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full. To the place the streams come from, there they return again.
All things are wearisome, more than one can say. The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing. What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which one can say, ‘Look! This is something new’? It was here already, long ago; it was here before our time. There is no remembrance of men of old, and even those who are yet to come will not be remembered by those who follow.”
Now this first chapter in Ecclesiastes basically sets the tone of the entire book where King Solomon describes everything to be utterly meaningless.
Why is It So Hard to Find your Purpose in Life?
Let’s take a look at Ecclesiastes 2:1-11. It says, “I thought in my heart, ‘Come now, I will test you with pleasure to find out what is good.’ But that also proved to be meaningless. ‘Laughter,’ I said, ‘is foolish.
And what does pleasure accomplish?’ I tried cheering myself with wine, and embracing folly-my mind still guiding me with wisdom. I wanted to see what was worthwhile for men to do under heaven during the few days of their lives.
I undertook great projects: I built houses for myself and planted vineyards. I made gardens and parks and planted all kinds of fruit trees in them. I made reservoirs to water groves of flourishing trees. I bought male and female slaves and had other slaves who were born in my house.
I also owned more herds and flocks than anyone in Jerusalem before me. I amassed silver and gold for myself, and the treasure of kings and provinces. I acquired men and women singers, and a harem as well-the delights of the heart of man. I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem before me.
In all this my wisdom stayed with me. I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my work, and this was the reward for all my labor.
Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.
Here King Solomon writes how he had everything. The world had to offer all the pleasures and anything he could see, he never denied himself, yet he still considered everything meaningless.
This reminds me of how, even in this world today, we see many celebrities and people who have great wealth. Yet, even though they have everything that the world offers, they still are depressed, they still commit suicide, they’re still having problems, just like everyone else. Actor and comedian Jim Carrey writes, “I think everyone should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of. So they can see that it’s not the answer.”
I had a friend who was a successful engineer and his work would pay for trips where he would travel all around the world, have many different kinds of foods and stay at the best hotels. He even says when he was younger, he was really excited to be able to have all those things. Yet as he grew older, he had a family, all those things that his work provided. It was all the same to him.
And eventually he just got bored of it. And he just wanted to be with his family back home.
There are people who go crazy over the new iPhone, or getting a new car, or getting all these great gadgets. But even though they have all those things within a year, there’s always going to be a new technology that they always want, greed is something that can never satisfy. So more than just craving for more and more. What Jesus teaches us is to be content with what we have.
I hope that’s something that you can reflect on the next time we crave, and we feel like I got to have that new thing, because there’s more to life than just materialistic things.
What Does It mean to Find your Purpose?
So now let’s take a look at Ecclesiastes 2:17-26, “So I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me. All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.
I hated all the things I had toiled for under the sun, because I must leave them to the one who comes after me. And who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool? Yet he will have control over all the work into which I have poured my effort and skill under the sun. This too is meaningless.
So my heart began to despair over all my toilsome labor under the sun. For a man may do his work with wisdom, knowledge and skill, and then he must leave all he owns to someone who has not worked for it. This too is meaningless and a great misfortune.
What does a man get for all the toil and anxious striving with which he labors under the sun? All his days his work is pain and grief; even at night his mind does not rest. This too is meaningless.
A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work.
This too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment? To the man who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.”
Many people, they focus so much on their career and work. But all the things that they do for work, eventually it will all just go away. People forget what they’re here on this earth for, and what the purpose of their life is, they just live in emotion. But let’s take a look at Ecclesiastes chapter three verse 11 and let’s understand what God has put inside of the hearts and people.
He writes, “He’s made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men, yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” God has placed eternity in our hearts, but people don’t understand the value of eternal life. Through the scriptures, we see this is God’s consistent blessing he wants to give to His people. From the very beginning to the very end, it always remains the same. And that is what? Eternal life for His people.
Therefore King Solomon writes in Ecclesiastes 5:1, “Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong. Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few. As a dream comes when there are many cares, so the speech of a fool when there are many words.
When you make a vow to God, do not delay in fulfilling it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow. It is better not to vow than to make a vow and not fulfill it. Do not let your mouth lead you into sin. And do not protest to the temple messenger, ‘My vow was a mistake.’ Why should God be angry at what you say and destroy the work of your hands? Much dreaming and many words are meaningless. Therefore stand in awe of God.” King Solomon gives us this piece of advice. He says, make sure that you always keep your vows and stand in awe of God.
This is the basic duties of people. There are many times people always take their words for granted. They forget and don’t keep the promises that they make. But we can see that through the wisdom of Solomon that he really wants us to make sure that we keep our promises because God has given us a promise to. If we’re not faithful even with the small things, how can we be faithful in keeping big promises?
How Do You Find your True Purpose in Life?
Let’s also take a look at Ecclesiastes 11:7-10. “Light is sweet, and it pleases the eyes to see the sun. However many years a man may live, let him enjoy them all. But let him remember the days of darkness, for they will be many. Everything to come is meaningless. Be happy, young man, while you are young, and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth.
Follow the ways of your heart and whatever your eyes see, but know that for all these things God will bring you to judgment. So then, banish anxiety from your heart and cast off the troubles of your body, for youth and vigor are meaningless.” What is King Solomon’s advice here? As youth, let’s always remember our Creator. He concluded here in Ecclesiastes 12:9-14, “Not only was the Teacher wise, but also he imparted knowledge to the people.
He pondered and searched out and set in order many proverbs. The Teacher searched to find just the right words, and what he wrote was upright and true. The words of the wise are like goads, their collected sayings like firmly embedded nails-given by one Shepherd. Be warned, my son, of anything in addition to them. Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body.
Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.” King Solomon concludes Ecclesiastes telling his people to number one, fear God, and number two, to keep his commands. He says that this is the whole duty of men.
The question you might be thinking is, “why do we have to fear God? Isn’t He like my friend?” The thing is, this kind of fear isn’t the fear that we have towards the Boogeyman. Rather this kind of fear is a fear like reverence. Respect that you have towards God, just as you have reverence, or you have respect for your father, because at any moment he could spank you, or discipline you.
Just as we fear a lawyer because he has the power to be able to make us guilty or innocent, even God is a judge. So then, what do we need to do? We need to learn to fear him because he has the power to allow us into heaven or not. As created beings, what we need to make sure we do is obey God’s commands. The question I want to ask you is, do you understand God’s commands? Do you understand the promises inside of the Bible?
If not, how can we obey something that we do not know the answers to? We wouldn’t know what we’re obeying. That’s why if we don’t know the Bible, I encourage all of you to make sure that we study the 66 books of the Bible so that we can understand the promises, and be able to keep them and be faithful to our side of the promises.
We know that God will always be faithful. God for the past 6000 years have had to see His people constantly betray him again and again and again. Let’s be people who learn from our mistakes from the past so that we can have a better future. God has big plans for us. He’s the architect. He has a blueprint. Many times we might just want to build our own houses according to our own blueprint. Let’s not be people like that. Let’s live inside of the promises of God.