If you were to go to someone you work with, just an average unsaved person, and ask them, “What is the purpose of life?” what do you think they would answer?
“To have a good time”?
“To travel to as many places as possible”?
“To work as little as possible and have as much fun as possible”?
I think that many people, if they thought deeply about it and were completely honest, would say, “The purpose of life ‘is to stay alive, [and] not to die, and the purpose of staying alive is to have a good time.’”1
Everyone wants to have a long life. But why? To do what? To have fun for as long as possible? To simply want to live for a long time, someone said, “is to worship life rather than the God of life.”2 People want to avoid thinking about death, and to exist in pleasure for as many years as they can.
But where is the attitude of the psalmist – even among Christians – who prayed, “Teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom” (Psalm 90:12)? That is, “Lord, remind me of how short my life is, that I might live wisely in light of what truly matters.” Life isn’t about having fun, making money, or travelling. It is about bringing glory to Jesus’ name; about living as if it is eternity that really matters.
We ought not to pray, “Lord, give me a long life,” as if length mattered more than purpose. We ought to pray, “Lord, give me a life where I honour you and please you – a life I won’t regret in eternity.”
1 The Gospel According to Tolkien, Ralph C. Wood, Kindle ed., loc. 880.