When I was asked this question I knew there was no way one sentence would
answer something so fundamental that philosophers have pondered for millennia.
As I thought about it, I remembered a troubled teenager I met one
winter’s night. He was fresh out of a Remand Home and needed work or
training — something to get him going.
He helped on the farm, and for days hardly spoke a word. One day he said,
“Do you know what my problem is? — I’ve got nothing to live
for — I’m bored, and if I had a tablet that would kill me
I’d take it.”
He went on to say that his mates that hung around the shops were all the same.
“They don’t care whether they’re dead or alive.”
What’s the problem?
There seems to be three things going against us.
One is Futility. You’ve heard it and may have said it:
“What’s the point? Who gives a damn? I’m bored. Nothing
changes. What’s new?
Another is Finality. Everything comes to an end. The party, the film, the book
and the bong are soon gone. The sun sets. The weeks, the months and the years
all come to their end. You too, have an end.
The big one is Eternity. These eight daunting letters lit up on Sydney Harbour
Bridge at midnight of the last day of 1999 to remind us of that which goes on
forever — eternity. Eternity is a concept that is hard to come to grips
with. Our time is short and then there’s this awesome thought of that
which never ends ... how can my life have any meaning in an eternity that goes
The Bible says “God has made everything beautiful in its time. He has
also set eternity in the hearts of men.”
Now, the feature on Sydney Harbour Bridge perpetuated the memory of one of
Sydney’s more unusual people — a man, Arthur Stace — who for
33 years would get up at 5am to write with chalk the word
‘Eternity’ on the pavements of Sydney.
Then what is man for?
You may be surprised at the simple answer to this profound question.
To philosophers of his time the apostle Paul
addressed the issue of the purpose of man ... “God gives to all life and
breath and all things. And has made from one all the nations of men to dwell
on the face of the earth, and has determined the times for them to live and
the boundaries of their existence.”
Our purpose is linked to creation. One of the reasons, I think, why
we’re so devoid of purpose, is that we’re educated to believe that
there is no God.
A time and a place
Paul said that our Creator has allotted us a time and a place in which to
Appreciate the fact not only that you’re here, but you are here for a
reason. “That they should seek the Lord and happily might find
him” Acts 17:26.
That’s the reason why “we live and move and have our being”
— to seek for and to find God. That is awesome — finding the one
who made us and who put this universe together.
But, we say, “How can I find God when I can’t see him?”
Paul added something most exciting. He said, “That they should seek the
Lord and happily might find him — for he is not far from anyone of
God is not far from anyone
The confused drug taking teenager, the struggling single mother, those
divorced who bleed in their soul, the sinner who struggles with guilt and
shame, or the prisoner who broods over his crime and sentence. God is not far
from the affluent or the destitute. He’s not far from those about to
die. God is even closer than the air we breathe.
The Bible says: “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while
he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let
him turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he
will freely pardon” Isaiah 55:6-7.
Our purpose then is to seek and find God. And beyond that God has His purpose
God never intended for you to be lonely. He said after he created
Adam, “It’s not good for man to be alone.”
Isolation destroys us. Our Creator made us for relationships — the
foundational human relationship is that of family. Families were made by God.
To be able to grow up in a loving family is a big part of fulfilment. Then
there’s the community and all the people we meet, either casually or
seriously. None of us live unto ourselves.
However, as good as these relationships may be, our Creator made us for a
special relationship with Him.
He made Himself known in Jesus Christ. He opened the way for us to be set free
from sin when Jesus died on the cross and rose again.
God is my friend. He’s with me 24 hours of each day.
God never intended for you to be
idle. The wise man of old said: “Then I realised that it is good for
a man to eat and drink, and to find satisfaction in his work during the few
days that God has given him. Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and
possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in
his work — this is a gift of God” Ecclesiastes 5:18-19.
Boredom is a soul destroyer. Those who look endlessly for a job will know all
about it. Those of you who work should appreciate it. Not only is a job an
antidote to boredom and a way of paying the bills it’s a wonderful
opportunity to serve others.
God never intended for us to be selfish. A self-centred life is a
meaningless life. Jesus said that there’s more happiness found in giving
God can reprogram our motives and save us from the destitution of selfishness.
Your life can be brim full of happiness when you give yourself totally to
Jesus and let Him use you to serve others.
What is man for? Our purpose is to find God and to know and love Him and to
serve Him in meaningful relationship.