This week’s devotions are based on the Week 1 “Explore God” – Does Life Have Purpose? (WATCH HERE)
Have you ever seen your breath?
In central Texas, this occurrence is not as frequent as in the midwest, but it does happen. On a cool (or cold) winter day one can go outside and breathe. The warm air from your lungs hits the cold air around you and the moisture in your breath quickly condenses to make micro droplets in the air which you see briefly before they evaporate and are gone.
While this may be “cool” for a moment, we don’t give much thought to it.
King Solomon did. It was the picture that came to mind as he contemplated the meaning and purpose of life. If you think about it, it is an odd picture for one who had great wisdom, wealth and relationships to describe the significance of life with the fleeting nature of one’s breath on a cold morning.
But he did.
Ecclesiastes 1:1 The words of the Teacher, son of David, king in Jerusalem: 2 “Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.”
The word translated, “Meaningless” is the word for breath…seen briefly and then gone. While a breath has its significance, it fades in comparison to the countless other realities happening around.
So why would Solomon at the end of his life conclude that life has little meaning or significance? He continued to begin the book of Ecclesiastes:
3 What does man gain from all his labor at which he toils under the sun? 4 Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever. 5 The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises. 6 The wind blows to the south and turns to the north; round and round it goes, ever returning on its course. 7 All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full. To the place the streams come from, there they return again. 8 All things are wearisome, more than one can say. The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing. 9 What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. 10 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. 11 There is no remembrance of men of old, and even those who are yet to come will not be remembered by those who follow.
Have you ever felt like Solomon? Perhaps the optimism of youth fades to the “reality” of age and one can reflect back on life and wonder, “What was the purpose?” Or one can struggle at a young age to find acceptance and wonder, “Is it all worth it?”
Philosophers and many others have contemplated the meaning of life. Many of them have come to similar observations as King Solomon. It would make sense that if I just viewed life from a human experiential point of view, it can seem rather meaningless.
So what gives life any sense of meaning and purpose?
Like with anything that is fashioned by a creator, the creator is the one who gives the object, invention, or construction meaning. A building doesn’t determine its purpose, the creator of the building determined its purpose before it was built. So it is with us.
God, our designer and creator, is the one who inherently gives us and our lives meaning and purpose.
Solomon finished his inspired reflections with this:
Ecclesiastes 12:12-13 Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body. 13 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.
This week we will explore the meaning and purpose God has given to you and begin to ask a different question. Instead of asking, “What is the purpose of my life?” I ask, “God what is YOUR purpose for my life?” Enjoy contemplating this question today!
Apply: What do you notice when you switch the question from “What is my purpose?” to “God what is your purpose for me?”
Prayer: Lord, we know you make all things for a purpose. In my journey with you this week, open my heart and mind to understand more deeply your purpose for me and my life. AMEN.