Chris Spielman had it all. He had been an outstanding football player in high school. He was
given a full-ride scholarship to play football at the Ohio State University. He was an
All-American and the winner of the Lombardi Trophy (awarded to the top college linebacker in
the country). He was drafted into the NFL, playing for the Detroit Lions and the Buffalo Bills,
finishing his career with the Cleveland Browns (although he never played a regular season
game for them). Yet, a voice from within let him know that there was something missing. It was
not until he broke his neck, and his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer that he truly
reassessed his life, and thought about what was really important.

Chris is not alone. There are a lot of people who never stop to think about what is really
important until something traumatic happens. It many times takes a major trauma in their lives
to get them to stop and think. It may be a near death experience, an accident or illness, either
their own or someone close to them. It may be a major change in their life: getting married, the
birth of a child, the loss of a job, divorce, financial disaster, children leaving for college,
retirement, the death of a loved one. As the people of God, each of these events gives us an
opportunity to present them with the gospel. For others, the training they receive as a child
causes them to realize what is really important all along. Their mother reading them Bible
stories, their father instructing and advising, their Bible class teacher unfolding the teaching of
Moses and Jesus, their preacher proclaiming the gospel - all of these touch their heart and
soul, allowing them to realize what is important all along.

People tend to identify themselves by what they do. To the athlete, sports becomes his identity.
It is who he is and what he does. To the scholar, academics becomes his identity. To the
worker and businessman and professional, their work, business or profession becomes their
identity. To the wealthy, their riches become their identity. To the party animal, the pursuit of
pleasure becomes their identity. Yet, at some point, whether at the end of their career or some
time prior to that, there is a realization that something is missing. Sports or academics or
employment or wealth or pleasure do not give fulfillment. When all is said and done, there is
still something missing, regardless of how well one has pursued any of these avenues. That
is what the book of Ecclesiastes in the Old Testament of the Bible is all about. It is a search for
purpose, meaning and fulfillment. Solomon, its author, sought out fulfillment in all that this
world has to offer. With the knowledge, gold and women that Solomon had at his command,
he was in a position to find fulfillment in the things of this world if it could be found. Yet, he
found it all wanting, he found it void, he found it vanity. The answer is to be found in the end:
"fear God and keep his commandments." [Ecclesiastes 12:12]

The beginning of knowledge is the fear of the Lord. It is the foundation that makes all else in
life make sense.

"Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God."
[Matthew 4:4; Deuteronomy 8:2} Man is not merely a physical being, he is also a spiritual
being. Either the denial, the ignoring or the ignorance of this fact is why people fail to find
completeness and fulfillment. The physicality of man cannot be denied, and must be
accommodated; but neither can the spirituality of man be denied, it must be accommodated.
Failing to provide for the spiritual side of man leaves the individual with a feeling of emptiness -
a void of incompleteness. The abundant life can only be lived and enjoyed by accepting and
providing for the spiritual side of man.

Man was created in the image of God. God is a spirit. Therefore, man has a spirit, or soul, that
must be nurtured. As the creation of God, God has cared for man as a father cares for his
children. He has provided us with the things which sustain our lives ~ air, food, sunshine and
rain. His loving care sustains us in this world physically, [see Genesis 1; Romans 1; Acts 17;
etc.]

His love sustains us spiritually as well. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only
begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
[John 3:16] God's love provides what we need to have physical life, and eternal life. The
sacrifice of Jesus upon the cross was an expression of love to pay the price for our sin, and to
reconcile us to God. Before we did anything, God made the overture which will reconcile us to
him.

It is our loving response to his love that gives life meaning, and provides purpose to our
existence. The gift of life is a precious gift: both physically and spiritually; it deserves a loving
response. Nothing that we can ever do or say can repay the debt we owe for the blessings God
has been willing to give us. All we can do is thankfully accept them. We do that with our
obedience - never earning nor deserving the blessings we have received ~ but expressing our
acceptance and appreciation for that which has been done for us. Our faith in Jesus' sacrifice
causes us to turn to God with a contrite heart, acknowledging our faith in his sacrifice, and
showing that faith in the likeness of his death, burial and resurrection in immersion in water.
Thus, we bury the old man of sin, put on Christ and rise to serve as a new man, having faith in
the operation of God to put away our sins. Thus, we become a child of God spiritually, just as
we are all the children of God physically, [see Romans 6; Galatians 3:26-27; Acts 2:38; Mark
16:15,16; etc.]

"True religion before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and the widows in their
affliction, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world." [James 1:27] True service to God is
reflected in the way we treat others, and in the way we live. Religion is not just reading your
Bible and attending church services, although that is part of it. But these, without the life of
godliness which serves others and has a zeal for doing the will of God, are sadly lacking in the
true spirit of religion. Righteousness is not a robe to wear on Sundays, but a life that is lived
every day of the week.

The question is: Who Are You? & What Are You Doing Here? Do you find your life missing
something? Do you find your life empty, after doing all you want, or obtaining all you thought
you wanted? Are you living in rebellion to God and his will?
Find meaning and purpose in life by faith in God and in his Christ. Obtain the blessings God
wishes to give you by becoming an obedient child.

"Seek you first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to
you." [Matthew 6:33]
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The Purpose
of Life