Purpose does not necessarily come from God, or a higher power, but is simply the reason why something is done (Merriam-Webster, 2004). In this sense of the word, purpose is simply a matter of fact and does not require a great deal of thought. However, in order to live a life of purpose, much more must considered.
To live a life of purpose, one must at least have a sense how they are contributing to the entirety of mankind and the advancement of its well being (Witherington, 2011). It is always rewarding to have the knowledge that what one is doing with life is helping others and making a difference (Witherington, 2011). Mankind is made for work and has an innate need to discover the purpose of life in order to derive satisfaction and pleasure from the work pursued (Buechner, 1993). Work can be defined as a place where an individual’s deep gladness meets the world’s greatest needs (Buechner, 1993). This definition of work does not require a higher power, or a sense of who God is in order to fulfill; rather it only requires a perspective on the needs of the world. If an individual has such an understanding, whatever work is sought out, as long as it is addressing the given need, the work is purposeful.
However, having a relationship with God, brings the perspectives of people in line with the purposes God has for their lives. What this insures is that the purpose being pursued is accurate and in line with what the individual was created to do in the sovereignty of God (Witherington, 2011). Purpose in life involves being as much as doing, and being a reflection of the Creator is at the center of what it means to live life on purpose (Witherington, 2011).
Buechner, F. (1993). Wishful Thinking: A Seeker’s ABC (Rev Exp edition). San Francisco, Calif.: HarperOne.
Merriam-Webster. (2004). The Merriam-Webster Dictionary (Revised edition). Springfield, Mass: Merriam-Webster Mass Market.
Taylor, B. B. (2010). An altar in the world: a geography of faith. New York: HarperOne.
Witherington III, B. (2011). Work: A Kingdom Perspective on Labor. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing.