Meaning and Purpose


Consider the following: Unless you have an identical twin, there has never been, will never be, and is not anyone exactly like you in the entire world. No one else has your exact genetic make-up. Even more astounding, if you have siblings, even though you are all products of the same genetic pool provided by your parents, each of you is uniquely different from each other. You are one of a kind.

Consider this also: every accident, incident, circumstance, or episode that has occurred in your life, combined with how you chose to respond to each, has made you the person you are right now. Change even one small detail, and you would be someone completely different. Your career, your spouse or significant other, your family-change one small thing and the picture changes dramatically. For you to be who you are today, your life had to unfold exactly the way it did.

Since almost the beginning of time, man has had two burning questions: “Who am I?”, and “What’s my purpose?”. Philosophers for thousands of years have attempted to answer these questions, with a variety of results. Some have reached the conclusion that life is strictly an accident of cosmic proportions, that just spontaneously resulted from impersonal events and chemical reactions which produced our current universe and everything in it over billions of years. Therefore, life has no meaning; it’s all an accident, a random chance of circumstances coming together in a specific combination (the odds of which are astronomical). Others decided that our lives are determined by universal forces, call them fate, destiny, karma, the Force, whatever, and we are driven by these forces with no choice or control. Still others believe that the universe is constantly ‘evolving’, always in a positive direction, which means that each succeeding generation is the ‘one the world has been waiting for’ to lead us into a golden age of peace, love, and utopia. (This particular vanity seems to be more common in the youth, and has affected the Baby Boomers, Gen X, Y. Z, and the Millennials, with each successive generation holding the previous ones in disdain)

Solomon, who is thought to be the wisest man to ever live, came to this conclusion: “The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13) This from a king who had the richest kingdom in history; had 700 wives and 300 concubines; who built palaces, cities, and fortresses; and who spent his life trying everything-seeking wisdom, labor, riches, pleasures and possessions-and pronounced it all “futility”. In the end, God was the only One who gave life meaning. Love for Him and obedience to His commands are the meaning of life, according to Solomon.

But to return to the original thought: why is it so important to understand just how unique you are? Because God created you for a purpose, and He is able to help you become who He desires you to be, regardless of life circumstances, perceived deficiencies, or feelings of unworthiness. You are no accident. The Psalmist said this:

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

Psalm 139:14-16

God knew you before you were ever conceived, and He chose to give you the characteristics He desired for you, from your nose to your eyes, to your father’s big ears and your mother’s sweet smile and musical ability. When I look in the mirror, I see my father’s chin and body build (short torso and long legs), my maternal grandfather’s hairline and hazel eyes, but mostly I see me. I also have a set of skills and abilities gleaned, no doubt, from both sides of the family. But although I carry characteristics from both sides, they are combined in a completely unique way that will never be seen exactly the same way ever again.

But still, you may say, “So what? What makes me so special?” This is what makes you special. God made you specifically for the time and place where you are. There are lives only you can touch, things that only you can do in your very special way, situations that require your special combinations of ingredients. Though we may not believe it, though we may resist by wishing we were somewhere or someone else, God places those He loves very specifically when and where He wishes in order to carry out His plans. Each of us can make a significant difference, even if it’s only for one other person.

In the book of Acts, God pulls Philip the Evangelist out of a growing church in Samaria and sends him to the middle of the desert to meet one single Ethiopian in a chariot who can’t understand the book of Isaiah, and Philip ends up baptizing him and sending him on his way, rejoicing as a new Christian. It probably wasn’t too long before there were more Christians in Ethiopia as a result of that single encounter. Remember, too, Mordecai’s words to Queen Esther regarding the impending genocide planned against the Jews in the book of Esther:

For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

Esther 4:14

God’s plans will always be successful, whether you are a part of them or not. But He loves you deeply, tenderly and jealously, and He has plans for which He created you in all your uniqueness. If you humbly and willingly give yourself over to His loving kingship of your life and seek His guidance, He will teach you the purpose and meaning for your life.

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