Day 7: The Reason for Everything – 40 Days of Purpose-Driven Life

What on Earth Am I Here For?

Point to Ponder: It’s all for him.

Verse to Remember: “For everything comes from God alone. Everything lives for His power, and everything is for his glory.” — Romans 11:36 (LB)

Question to Consider: Where in my daily routine can I become more aware of God’s glory?

[Read More] thoughts on Day 7 of Rick Warren‘s Purpose-Driven Life* including Ernie’s take on a theory of everything and the secret of life.

Today’s question is a particularly poignant one for me, on several levels. To start with, this is one of those occasional “open” weekends where my wife is working, I have no major work or household projects pending, and nobody I know is free to hang out. What should I do with myself when I can do “whatever I want?” Should I tackle some major new intellectual problem* Walk for miles outside on what’s looking like a rare sunny day? Fast and pray? Practice my bongos and write another song? Watch TV*

In praying about it, I felt God was saying, “When you love someone, you don’t want them to perform, you want them to be happy.” This is where the practical problem becomes a theoretical one. What will truly make me happy? I know from experience that what feels good (say, eating an entire pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream while watching a cheesy movie on TV 🙂 may give me pleasure, but not happiness — due both to the negative consequences, and the general sense of shame over shallow self-indulgence. On the other hand, treating the weekend like a weekday by trying to get “significant things” done can be equally unhealthy for my psyche: “Seven days of work makes one weak.”

In short, what is the secret of a happy life? Is there an integrated ‘theory of everything’ that can tell me how to balance my need to achieve — and what others need me to achieve — with my physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being?

Into this conundrum Rick Warren steps in with a series of answers I find impressively clear, concise, and comprehensive. Maybe not perfect, but a very significant contribution nonetheless:

“The ultimate goal of the universe is to show the glory of God… We cannot add to this [intrinsic] glory… But we are commanded to recognize… honor… declare… praise… reflect, and live for his glory… When anything in creation fulfills its purpose, it brings glory to God.”

How? By:

1. Worshipping Him.

“Worship is enjoying God, loving him, and giving ourselves to be used for his purposes.”

2. Loving other believers.

“It is your responsibility to learn how to love as God does, because God is love, and it honors him.”

3. Becoming like Christ.

“Spiritual maturity is becoming like Jesus in the way we think, feel, and act.”

4. Serving others with our gifts.

“God didn’t give you your abilities for selfish purposes. They were given to benefit others…”

5. Telling others about him.

“This is a great privilege — introducing others to Jesus, helping them to discover their purpose, and preparing them for their eternal destiny.”

At one level, this is a fairly common set of categories: worship, nurture/community, discipleship/education , and outreach/mission (which includes both service and evangelism). The tension has always been: is it possible to do four things well, or should one of these be primary? Thus, we end up with different styles of churches, oriented variously around worship, community, discipleship, or outreach.

The genius of Rick’s approach is that the organizing principle is not merely “worship” (which, in practice, comes to mean “singing”), but the glory of God. A much rarer yet broader concept, plus something that — unlike the other four — does not lend itself well to being a “program”. Rather, it is much more an attitude and a lifestyle, which we need to constantly wrestle with rather than merely implement.

Most important of all, Rick does all this in the context of “purpose” rather than, say, “duty” or “tradition.” I would even go one step further and argue that our purpose can be summarized as “Imago Christi” — being transformed to manifest the image and character of Christ, in this world and the world to come.


Prayer: God, I thank you that you have created me for a purpose — actually, many purposes. I agree with you that all of my purposes can only be truly and simultaneously fulfilled if and when they glorify you, through Christ. Be with me this day, that I may seek first your Glory and your righteousness, that all these things may be added unto me, without regret. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.