Someone asked me the other day, “What is the purpose of life?”
I said, “The purpose of life is love. Period.”
Being a preacher I can’t really stop at two short sentences so allow me to elaborate:
Ultimately life is about love; all of life. I like the implications of the Genesis 1 story. At the end of the story God looked out at all of creation and saw that it was “good.” I believe that God will one day redeem all of creation, bringing every creature, every rock, every tree, into harmony–that is “goodness”– again, as it was in the beginning. This Edenic dream may be wishful thinking on my part but it is the sub-text to my belief that love is the purpose of life.
This idea above comes from the biblical vision of Shalom, a place where the lion and the lamb truly do lay down together. This is the Bible’s view (especially of prophets like Isaiah and Jeremiah and of Jesus) of how life is meant to be. As a follower of Jesus my goal is to live in such a way that my life reflects Shalom and, by the very nature of the way I live, will invite others to experience that same place named Peace.
Some might say that the purpose of life is to orient ourselves toward guaranteeing our place in the afterlife. This is not unusual since there is often a great deal of fear associated with death and what lies beyond one’s last breath. This is a fear I face as much as any other.
However, I am finding these days that I don’t really think that much about the afterlife. In fact, I don’t think Jesus did either. Most of what he taught had to do with life today and the way we live in the here and now. So I am trying to learn to leave the afterlife to God. Instead, the life I live now is the one I pay attention to as I seek to live in the peace of love itself.