Summary: This sermon is adapted from Rick Warren’s series, "40 Days of Purpose." Pastors all across this country will be preaching the same messages simultaneously. Each pastor will adapt the message according to the needs of his congregation.
This sermon is adapted from Rick Warren’s series, "40 Days of Purpose." Pastors all across this country will be preaching the same messages simultaneously. Each pastor will adapt the message according to the needs of his congregation
Take out your outlines. Welcome to 40 Days of Purpose. We’re ready to start on this journey we’ve been planning for a long, long time. Today we’re going to look at life’s three greatest questions: 1) The question of existence – why am I alive? 2) the question of significance – does my life matter? and 3) the question of intention – what is my purpose?
Now this first question, the “Question of Existence: Why am I alive?” is not exactly a new question. It was asked thousands of years ago. In fact, Jeremiah asked it in Jeremiah 20:18, it says this “Why was I born? Was it only to have trouble and sorrow, to end my life in disgrace?” Now there’ve probably times in your life when you felt that way, too. Was I born just to have a bunch of problems? Was I put on this planet just to have heartache, grief and stress? Arthur Ashley Brilliant says “my life is a superb cast, but I can’t figure out the plot.” Jack Hanley wrote, “I hope life isn’t a joke, because I don’t get it.”
A guy named Dr. Hugh Moorhead, who is the Chairman at the Department of Philosophy at the Northeastern University, once wrote to 250 well-known philosophers, scientists, writers and intellectuals of the world and asked them, “What is the purpose of Life.” And then he published all of their responses in a book. I read the book, and it was quite discouraging and depressing. Some of these people offered their best guesses. Some admitted they made up a purpose in life. Some admitted they didn’t have any idea as to what the purpose of life was and if Dr. Moorhead knew, would be please let them know. Carl Jung, the famous psychiatrist said, “I don’t know the meaning, the purpose of life, but it looks as if something were meant by it.” Isaac Asimov wrote, “As far as I can see, there is no purpose.” Joseph Taylor, the author of “I Have No Answers To The Meaning of Life And I No Longer Want to Search For Any.”
You know, all of those are tragic statements folks, because the life without purpose isn’t a life worth living. It is no coincidence that the suicide rate in our society has gone up. It’s now the No. 2 killer of teenage students. You see, if you take God out of the equation, you don’t really have very many alternatives. You can try the Mystical approach – the mystical approach says “look within and find your purpose within.” You know if that really worked, all of us would know our purpose. I’m sure you’ve tried that. I have and I bet everyone else has, too. And I didn’t find it there. It takes more than looking within.
Oprah Winfrey aired a show a while back. Somebody told me she was going to do a session on discovering your purpose on life, so I taped it. I thought, this is going to be good. I want to hear what Oprah says is the purpose of life. At every single break during that hour show, she would say “Now, come back because we’re going to tell you your purpose.” And so I came back every time and did they tell me it? – No. They didn’t even come close. They didn’t even attempt it. In fact, as the credits were rolling at the end of that Oprah Winfrey show, she kind of looks at the credits and says, “And remember, you’ve got to figure it out by yourself.” Uh? I thought. I just wasted a whole hour. Looking within is not the answer.
Then you can try the Philosophical approach – the survivalist says, “The purpose of life is just to stay alive.” In other words, live as long as you can. The Naturalist says, “The purpose of life is just to perpetuate itself.” In other words, you’re just here for biological reasons. Rap artist, Ice T, wrote, “The only reason we’re here is to reproduce. Just chill out and reproduce. Keep the species alive.” Doesn’t that just motivate you to want to jump out of bed in the morning? It may motivate you to jump in to bed, I don’t know. The Hedonist writes, “The purpose of life is pleasure – have fun, party-hardy.” Those of you who have been in Orange County for a long time – do you remember that bumper sticker that read “It’s party time in Dana Point.” Remember that? The Materialist says, “Life is all about the acquisition of things.” Your life is measured by the things you own. You know the problem with that is that he who dies with the most toys, still dies. And so, these are not really satisfying answers.