Building a Purposeful Life
June 23, 2019

Building God’s House

Building a Purposeful Life

Ecclesiastes 1

Audio File:!7EkigSYB!aWspSqZp4_v3_YMbyM2KAubdFMIpvSBkraSXxpa9Wtk

Over the years I have spoken a lot on this subject. I even have a chapter in my book, “From Here to There,” talking about it. And maybe that’s because there have been a few Bible verses about ‘purpose’  that I would like to describe my life, several of which were used to describe God’s relationship with King David. Like when God chose David to be King.  

“He raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.’” (Acts 13:22; cf. 1 Samuel 13:14 NKJV)

But there is another verse concerning the life of King David that I would be honored to have written as my epitaph once I pass from this world. It says,

“For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, died.” (Acts 13:16 NRS) 

Both of these verses are what I would like people to remember me by. But the second verse is a definition of a great life lived for God. 

For us then to live out this verse, it is important for us to understand what is God’s purpose for our lives? But also, what happens when we don’t understand God’s purpose, or what some have called, “The meaning of life?” 

There is a book God has placed in the Bible for this very purpose, and that is to help explain what happens to a life that has lost its way, that has lost meaning and purpose. It is the book of Ecclesiastes. It was written by someone many consider the wisest man to have lived, Solomon. In the very first chapter he describes what happens when we don’t know God’s purpose and meaning of life. 

Life Seems Meaningless

The King James Version reads, “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.” More literally the word, “vanity,” means, “useless” or “meaningless” in the Hebrew language. 

“Meaningless! Meaningless! … Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless. What does man gain from all his labor at which he toils under the sun? Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever.” (Ecclesiastes 1:2-4 NIV)

What is being said is that if there is no purpose to life, then why live it? Why not just sleep in? If nothing really matters, why bother? Why make the effort? Life without meaning is useless if there is no purpose attached to it. 

Life Seems Boring

Life without purpose makes it seem like all we’re doing is going around in circles, which is Solomon’s conclusion. 

“The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises. The wind blows to the south and turns to the north; round and round it goes, ever returning on its course. All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full. To the place the streams come from, there they return again.” (Ecclesiastes 1:5-7 NIV)

To prove the point that life without purpose is circular, that is, it keeps going around and around in circles, Solomon points to the rotation of the earth, the swirling nature of wind, and the cycle of evaporation. In other words, life without purpose is one boring endless cycle. Just about the time you put away the Christmas tree, you have to take it out and set it up again. Or it’s like running on a treadmill, we expend a lot of energy, but go absolutely nowhere. 

Life Seems Unfulfilling

“The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing. What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. 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.” (Ecclesiastes 1:8b-10 NIV)

What’s being said is that no matter what we do, we’re never satisfied or content. We come late and leave early. This is magnified with how we watch TV. The average human will change the channel 325,000 times in their life. And so life without purpose is unfulfilling. 

Life Seems Insignificant

“There is no remembrance of men of old, and even those who are yet to come will not be remembered by those who follow.” (Ecclesiastes 1:11 NIV)

What this is saying is that our 15 minutes of fame has been seriously downgraded. If you break a record today, someone is going to break it tomorrow, or the very next race. You might say that life without purpose is all about the surety of obscurity. 

Life Seems Uncontrollable

“What is crooked cannot be made straight, and what is lacking cannot be numbered.” (Ecclesiastes 1:15 NKJV)

One of the great frustrations in life is that there are some things we just can’t fix, and can’t be controlled. In fact, the most important things in life are out of our control. We can’t control when, where, and to whom we were born, and the same goes as to our deaths. We also can’t control other people’s actions that end up hurting others and us. 

So, Solomon’s conclusion is that life without purpose is meaningless, boring, unfulfilling, insignificant, and beyond our ability to control. Basically, Solomon is saying that life without purpose is pointless. 

But this is nothing new. People have been saying this for a long time. 

Listen to some depressing responses to those that our society considers to be or to have a purpose in life. 

  • Isaac Asimov (A prolific science fiction writer) – “As far as I can see there is no purpose to life.” 
  • Karl Jung (Psychiatrist) – “I don’t know what the meaning or purpose of life is, but it looks as if there were something meant by it.” 
  • Albert Ellis (Psychiatrist and inventor) – “As far as I can tell, life has no special or intrinsic meaning or purpose.”
  • Thomas Nagle (Economist) – “I’m afraid the meaning of life still eludes me.” 

Is it any wonder then that our culture has turned its back on God? When we remove God from our lives, the options for the meaning and purpose of life become extremely slim. 

  • Bertrand Russell (Philosopher and atheist) – “Unless you assume a god, the question about life’s purpose is meaningless.” 
  • Sigmund Freud (Psychotherapist and psychoanalysis) – “The idea of a purpose stands or falls with the religious system.” 

To paraphrase what we just heard I’d say, “If you don’t accept that God exists, then you live on a dead end street.” 

The conclusion of what our society is saying is that if God doesn’t exist, then we are nothing more than an evolutionary accident. If God didn’t create us, then life has no meaning or purpose, and life really doesn’t matter. Is it any wonder why our youth and young adults are so messed up? They’ve been taught that they are nothing more than a blob of cells, or elevated pond scum. 

Is it coincidental that ever since our culture and society has turned its back on God that the suicide rate has gone up? When we remove God from the equation, the options for finding true meaning and purpose for life become slim, and many have opted to check out of life because of it.

Basically, the world’s approach to life and finding purpose is bankrupt, which is why we see such chaos in our schools, on our streets, and in this world. 

But God has placed within life a purpose. But what is that purpose? 

Some people make up, or create their own purpose for life. Some say it is just to stay alive, so they do everything in their power to stay alive. These are called survivalist.

Others are living their lives in one big pursuit of youth. One person said they would wash their face in sewer water if that would help to turn back the clock. 

Then there are those who philosophically say that all life is meant to do is reproduce. But if life’s whole goal is to create more life, and if what we see in this world is all that there is to life, then why not just stop the insanity and be celibate? 

Other people believe there is no purpose in life, so they spend their entire life trying to escape it. They will go to great lengths trying to dull what they are feeling. It may be through amusement, which literally means not to think. Or they will try through things like drugs and alcohol.

But there is another option, which is that God has a purpose for our lives. 

“Long ago, even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. And this gave him great pleasure.” (Ephesians 1:4-5 NLT)

Notice God says that He was thinking about us even before He thought about creating the universe. God has an unchanging plan for our lives. God purpose was for us to be a part of His family. In other words, God made and created us, to have a personal intimate relationship with Him. 

And so, if we don’t get this, that we were created for the purpose of having a relationship with God and to be a part of His family through Jesus Christ,  then we’ve missed the whole point of life. We weren’t born to live, make money, retire, and die. God put us upon this earth to have a relationship with us as members of His family. 

Now, before I move on, it’s important that I get one misconception out of the way. Not everyone is a part of God’s family. Not everyone is a child of God. Yes, God has created us all in His image and likeness. And yes, God loves everyone. But not everyone is a child of God. 

It says that God’s unchanging plan is to adopt us into His family. And the only way for us to be adopted is through faith, that is, putting our trust in Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord. And once that happens, we’ll not only be a part of His family, but we’ll live forever with Him in heaven. 

This was His plan from the very beginning, and that is that this life is a preparation for our eternity, although we cannot see that ending from where we presently are at. Solomon tells us this back in the book of Ecclesiastes. 

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11 NIV)

God created humanity to last forever! We were created for eternity, and we are going to end up living eternally in one of two places: with God in heaven, or apart from God in hell. The destination is solely based upon our belief and faith in Jesus Christ. 

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). 

And so, if we were made for eternity, and God’s purpose is for us to be adopted into His family through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ, then that means that God is more interested in preparing us for an eternity with Him in heaven than He is in making us happy here and now on earth.

Now, that doesn’t mean life on earth is to be lived in misery. Instead, Jesus tells us that God not only gives us life, but abundant life, both now and for all eternity (John 10:10). In the business world we call this a win-win scenario. 

Therefore, if God’s purpose is for us to be a part of His family for all eternity, and that this life is a preparation for that eternity, then how are we to prepare to live life according to God’s purpose? 

To find that answer, there are three building blocks that God has given for us to build a purpose-filled life. And they are time, talents, and treasures. 

1. Time

The first block in building a purposeful life is that of time, and how we use time with eternity in view. 

“See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” (Ephesians 5:15-17 NKJV)

Time is one of our most precious commodities. It’s far more precious than gold or silver. You see, we can always get or make more money. But we can’t get or buy more time. 

We only have a certain amount of time allotted to us, which is why the Apostle Paul tells us to walk carefully using the time we have wisely, and that’s because the days we are living in are evil. Therefore, it is important to know God’s plan and purpose for our lives, or to say this another way, we need to understand the will of God. 

And so, with only so much time left to us, we need to further God’s kingdom purposes, just as just told us to pray, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10 KJV). 

The key is knowing that the only thing we can do with time is to use it. We can’t invest it to make more time, nor can we borrow time from anywhere else. We can’t save time, even though the government thinks we can with daylight savings. We can only redeem it, that is, use the time God has given us. 

Now, one of Satan’s strategies is to get us so busy doing unimportant things, even if they seem to be good, that we don’t have time for the more important or the best things in life. 

The Apostle Paul said, “But my life is worth nothing unless I use it for doing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus — the work of telling others the Good News about God’s wonderful kindness and love.” (Acts 20:24 NLT)

And so we need to use the time God has given to us in view of eternity. 

2. Talents

The next block in building process of a purposeful life is how we use our talents with eternity in view. 

“For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (1 Corinthians 6:20 NKJV)

God has given all of us special gifts and talents to be used, not to bless ourselves or to further our own special interests. He has given us these gifts and talents for the furtherance of His kingdom on earth. 

These gifts and talents are to help us reach out with the Kingdom message of Jesus Christ to a world that is lost and dying in its sins. We are to use our gifts and talents to help others find Jesus Christ, and to become a part of God’s family for all eternity. 

3. Treasure

And the last block in building God’s house as a house of purpose is how we use our treasures in view of eternity. 

With all the unrest in the world today, people are having a tough time trying to figure out where is the best and safest place to invest their money. Is it in the stock market, the bond market, in oil, real estate, or in gold and precious metals? Where should we invest? 

Let me answer that question with an illustration. Let’s say Congress passed a law that in the next six months the American dollar will be replaced by the Euro. And whenever that transfer takes place, and they’re not telling when, the dollar will become useless. 

What would be a good strategy? Well, because we don’t know the exact date of the transfer, smart money says; convert everything we don’t need to live on over to the Euro. Keep only enough dollars to meet our daily needs. 

The Bible says that there’s going to be an exchange day for our lives. In other words, we’re all going to die, and since death is inevitable, only a fool would go through life unprepared for the inevitable. 

Therefore, since we’re all going to die, since we are all terminal, the wealth we gather here on earth is going to be worthless when we get to heaven. So we have to start converting what we have to heaven’s economy. 

Jesus said, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven … For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21 NKJV)

If I could sum up Jesus’s parable of the Unjust Steward, it would be to use our resources for God’s heavenly purpose, and that is, to get people into God’s family. 

Jesus said, “I tell you, use your worldly resources to benefit others and make friends. In this way, your generosity stores up a reward for you in heaven.” (Luke 16:9 NLT)

And yet knowing all of this, what it comes down to is the foundation we’re building upon. The foundation of this purposeful life is Jesus Christ. Even Jesus tells us this. 

Jesus said, “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock.” (Matthew 7:24 NKJV)

What this means is that we are to establish a relationship with Him. 

“But as many as received Him (Jesus Christ), to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.” (John 1:12 NKJV)

How do we establish this relationship? The same way we establish any relationship. We have to spend time with God. We have to be able to communicate with Him, and the biggest part of that communication is our ability to listen what He is saying, rather than just telling Him what we want, or what we think. 

Now, this relationship begins with asking Jesus Christ into our hearts and into our lives. Once we do that, we have to spend time with Him everyday reading His word, along with communicating and listening to Him in prayer. 

But there is more, and that is, each of these building blocks, that is, our time, talents, and treasures are not independent of each other, but need to be connected and adjacent to and upon the others. 

So how does this happen? I think the better question is Who builds them up in our lives so that we can build God’s house within us as a house of purpose, and that Who is the Holy Spirit, because in the end it’s His temple that lies within. 

“Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own.” (1 Corinthians 6:19 NKJV)

The Lord God said, “‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ Says the Lord of hosts.” (Zechariah 4:6 NKJV)


God has a purpose for our lives, and that is to have a personal relationship with Him and to be a part of His family. We do that by accepting Jesus Christ into our lives as Savior and Lord. And then we need to take time in His word and in prayer to further that relationship. 

Further, since none of us know when we’re going to trade in this mortal life for immortality, we need to build God’s house within us with our time, talents, and treasures. We cannot take it with us, but we can send it ahead, and we do so by investing in God’s purposes now. 

Let’s not trade our lives for temporary things. Outside the decision to receive Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord, the most important decision we can make centers around this question: “Am I just going to live for the here and now, or am I going to live in light of eternity?”

Will we be like David who after he served his generation by the will of God goes into an eternity with God? Will we hear the Lord say, “Well done good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Lord?” Or will we hear Him say, “Depart from me you worker of iniquity, I never knew you?”

Today, make sure you know Jesus as your Savior and Lord, and then determine to start living for God’s purposes using what He has given, in and through the power of the Holy Spirit. 

When we start living our lives and fulfilling our mission of making a difference for Christ in our community and beyond, that is when we’ll be building purposeful lives. 

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