“The ultimate purpose of life,” he said, “is to live for others”.
I remember a conversation I had with a Sports Science student last semester.
I was using the Perspective cards. We had reached the “Meaning and Purpose of Life” category, and so I asked him which among the cards represented what he believed to be the meaning and purpose of life.
He picked the “To Live for Others” card.
When asked why, he explained that the neighborhood he is from was where drugs and other unhealthy stuff abounded. He hoped, as a Sports Science student (and eventually, graduate), to be able to influence the kids in his neighborhood for something better. It was a very noble, honorable aspiration, and I told him so.
It made sense that he believed that living for others is the purpose of life.
With fervor in his voice, he explained further that helping others, “pagtulong sa kapwa”, is the noblest undertaking in the world.
He asked me what I thought was the Purpose of Life, so of course I chose: “To Live for God.”
“Why?” he asked.
I remember detecting a hint of an accusation in his voice: as if I had turned my back on the human race by choosing to live for something as abstract – or worse, divisive – thing as the “concept of God”. To him, God, or the idea of God, is synonymous or equal to, impersonal institutions, huge chapels, religious rituals and whatnot. Why would anyone live for THAT? Why not actually do something worthwhile?
I explained to him that God is not just a concept.
God is a person, and the ultimate Giver of my purpose. I told him God is for change and justice. God also desires that kids’ lives not go to waste because of drugs or whatever sinister element out there. God desires that evil be stopped.
And I told him that although there are many other noble things people could live for, I picked the “Live for God” card because ultimately, living for God will enable me to live for others, and live for all those other noble
I reflect on this experience because I realize that the question: What must I live for? is something that echoes in every human being. (Those who deny the fact that we must, indeed, live for something may try to brush it aside, end up in an existence of purposelessness.)
The Christian answers this question by pointing to the ultimate Purpose-Giver, Jesus Christ, who He is, what He did, and why He came in the first place.
Moreover, the kid’s question “Why not actually do something worthwhile?” and the implication that Christians are passive and oblivious to social evils and injustices is something challengers always throw in the Christian’s face.
It follows then that if my Purpose is anchored on what Christ did, and who He is, then I, as someone seeking to be like Him, should act on these things that God cares about: redemption, freedom, justice.
Do you see? A Christian so intent on being like Christ will – must – eventually learn to love others, and fight for them.
It’s the beautiful paradox: to live for others, I must live for Christ first.