We love asking kids what they want to be when they grow up. A teacher? A doctor? A marine biologist? A superhero?
With wide-eyed wonder, kids start picturing their lives and futures with all the glorious possibilities.
But somewhere along the line, a heaviness takes over and we start to attach our purpose in life to our relationships, achievements, hobbies, children, and careers. We think if we’re enjoying our jobs, we’re fulfilling our purpose. But if we’re miserable at our job, or the tasks are tedious, or we’re bogged down by the day-to-day grind of it all, we think we’re not living out our calling.
What does the Bible say about purpose? How do we know if we’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing?
Let’s dive in and find out: What is our purpose on earth according to the bible?
What is my purpose?
Asking the question is a good place to start. It shows intentionality. We don’t want to float through life, drifting from one pursuit to the next without aim or passion. Living without intention feels empty, even meaningless.
Instead, looking at what God says about our purpose in life can invigorate us back into living the way he designed us to live. It can infuse us with purpose, passion, and a path forward.
If you’re wondering, what is our purpose on earth according to the Bible, the simplicity of the answer might surprise you. Jesus was once asked, “What’s the most important commandment?”
In Matthew 22:36-40 He replied "You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself."
Jesus tells us the most important things in life boil down to these two commands: love God and love others. Instead of chasing after careers, promotions, degrees, and pay raises to find fulfillment of your purpose in life, God is asking you to do two things right where you are.
Love God. Love others.
It doesn’t matter if you’re working part-time at a coffee shop or putting in 60 hours a week as the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. Your purpose is to love God and love others.
Loving God means spending time with him–reading the Bible, praying, worshiping at church, and inviting him into every aspect of your life. Loving God takes intentionality. It takes commitment. It takes an openness to hear and obeying what he wants for your life. A life filled with gratitude, love, and joy for the Lord is a life filled with purpose.
Loving others means living with open hands to serve and give generously to the people around you. God has intentionally placed you in your family, your friend group, your neighborhood, your social circles for a reason. Those are the people he wants you to love.
Does that mean the refugee across the street? Of course. The single mom you met at the park? Yes. The friend who’s struggling with anxiety and depression? 100%. Even the coworker who votes for a different political party? Absolutely.
God puts people in your path for a purpose. And that purpose is to love God and love others in the exact place you’re in right now. You don’t need to keep searching for your purpose in life. You’re already living it. Use the skills, passions, and opportunities God has given you to fully embrace God’s purpose for your life.
Finding Purpose as a Stay-At-Home Caretaker
As a stay-at-home caretaker, you might find it hard to see your purpose in the midst of mindless tasks–the laundry is quite literally never done, the sparkling floors will be covered in crumbs within the hour, and by the time you finish cleaning up breakfast, it’s time to cook lunch. It’s hard to find purpose when every day feels like you’re living in a spin cycle.
But living out your purpose can look like praying with your kids before bed. It sounds like worship songs in the car as you drive from soccer practice to musical rehearsal.
It’s in the way you demonstrate unconditional love to your kids even when they throw a tantrum and kick you in the shins in the checkout line at Target. It’s in the way you create a peaceful space that welcomes your family and their friends into your home. It’s in the way you cultivate opportunities for joy and safety, so your children are free to express their big emotions.
When you teach your kids to love God and love others, you’re fulfilling the Great Commission.
Matthew 28:18-20 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
You are making disciples in your home, teaching them how to love God and love others. And that is meaningful, purpose-filled work that only you can do.
Finding Purpose as an Empty Nester
You thought this day would never come. Sleepless nights and leaking sippy cups are now a distant memory. You spent decades pouring your heart and soul into the lives of your children, and now here you are, an empty nester.
Whether being an empty-nester is exhilarating or terrifying, you can find purpose and joy in exciting new ways. You can finally read the Bible and hear from God with fewer distractions. You might actually have the time, space, and emotional capacity for loving others in new ways too. Titus 1:5-9 shares the characteristics of godly leaders and elders–a call for good character, strong faith, and an encouraging spirit. As an empty nester, you can model faith in action to the next generation.
As an empty-nester, you also have the opportunity to pursue passions that might be hiding on the backburner, waiting for their time to shine. What lights you up inside? What gets your blood pumping and fills you with excitement? God wants to use those passions to help you love God and love others.
Finding Purpose as a Single
Sometimes singles feel like they’re in a holding pattern, waiting for their real life to begin once they’re in a relationship. But that’s not how God views singleness. He says singleness is a gift.
In 1 Corinthians 7:8, Paul writes, “It's better to stay unmarried, as I am” because singles are able to focus on God instead of having their thoughts divided between pleasing God and pleasing people 1 Corinthians 7:32-34.
Instead of waiting for a relationship to motivate you toward fulfilling your purpose, dive in right now. Pursue activities that showcase the special skills and unique passions God has given you to love God and love others.
Join a group. Take a meal to a neighbor. Volunteer at an after-school program. Find a place to serve at your campus. Leave a kind note on a co-worker’s desk.
Life doesn’t begin once you’re in a relationship. You can fulfill your purpose by loving God and loving others right where you are
Finding Purpose as a Student
Your time might be consumed by homework, projects, assignments, and tests. It might feel like you’re slowly inching toward your purpose but you’re not quite there yet.
Don’t be fooled by that thought. You are filled with all of the qualities to live out your purpose, regardless of your age, position, location, or situation. You can love God and love others exactly where you are today. In 1 John 2:14, John encourages young believers to continue pursuing a life of faith: “God’s word lives in your hearts, and you have won your battle with the evil one.”
Right now, you can pursue a life of faith by connecting with other students at your campus. You can pray for your friends and teachers before school. You can invite someone to church, write an encouraging note, or include new classmates into your group of friends.
Use the passions and skills God has given you to love God and love others right where you are. That’s how you can fulfill your purpose on earth.
If you're interested in other content or resources about this topic, check out our sermon series Rethinking My Life for more content.
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