Summary: The first message in the 7 week series
WHAT ON EARTH AM I HERE FOR?
• I have provided you with an outline of my message in your bulletin so you can follow along.
• Welcome to 40 Days of Purpose. We’re ready to start on this journey we’ve been planning now for a looooong time.
• Today we’re going to look at life’s three greatest questions:
The question of existence – why am I alive?
The question of significance – does my life matter? and
The question of intention – what is my purpose?
1. The “Question of Existence: Why am I alive?”
• Now that is not exactly a new question. It has probably been asked since people have been around.
• The prophet 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?”
• I imagine there have been times in your life when you felt that way, too. Especially when things were not going well and heartache and sorrow and tragedies have crossed your path. Not too many seem to ask or struggle with that question when all in the garden is rosy.
Dr. Hugh Moorhead, the Chairman at the Department of Philosophy at the Northeastern University, - 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 – most responses were 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 (1920-1992), Russian-born American Jewish author and biochemist, who in his lifetime wrote over 500 books that enlightened, entertained, and spanned the realm of human knowledge, wrote about the meaning of life, “As far as I can see, there is no purpose.”
Joseph Taylor, the 1993 Nobel Prize winner in Physics, wrote a book titled, “I Have No Answers To The Meaning of Life And I No Longer Want to Search For Any.”
• Those are all tragic statements - 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 – it says “look within and find your purpose within.” You know if that really worked, all of us would know our purpose.
Oprah Winfrey had a show a while back on the topic of discovering your purpose on life, but none of her guests even came close to providing an answer to the question. At the end of the show she just said “And remember, you’ve got to figure it out by yourself.” Well duh! That’s a fat lot of help.
Or you might 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 music 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 into bed, I don’t know.
The Hedonist writes, “The purpose of life is pleasure –if it feels good, do it - have fun, party-hardy.”
The Materialist says, “Life is all about the acquisition of things.” Bumper sticker: “He who dies with the most toys wins”. Your life is measured by the things you own. The problem with that is that he who dies with the most toys, still dies. And so, these are not really satisfying answers.
Or you can try the Self-Help approach.
Go into any Barnes & Noble bookstore or online to Amazon.com and you’ll find hundreds of books, that talk about discovering your life purpose. They all are basically saying the same thing; “You’ve got to invent your purpose.” You’ve got to create your own purpose in life. And they all give the same basic approach – discover your dreams, go after your goals, have some ambitions, dream big dreams, aim high, believe you can achieve, have faith, figure out what you’re good at, never give up, involve other people.