ROSALIND, who grew up in England, had an insatiable desire for knowledge. She also wanted to help people. After graduating from school, she got a prestigious job that involved assisting the homeless, and she also helped those with physical and learning disabilities. Despite having satisfying work and being comfortable materially, she says, “For years I wondered, ‘Why are we here?’ and ‘What is the purpose of life?’”
Why ask the question?

Humans are not like unreasoning animals. We have a capacity to learn from the past, to plan for the future, and to look for a purpose in our life.
What do some say the answer is?

Many feel that the primary purpose of life is to gain wealth or fame and thus achieve happiness.
What does that answer imply?

We set our own priorities in life. God’s will is less important than our desires.
What does the Bible teach?

King Solomon gathered enormous wealth and pursued pleasure but found that those things brought no lasting sense of purpose. He identified what brought real purpose in life when he wrote: “The conclusion of the matter, everything having been heard, is: Fear the true God and keep his commandments. For this is the whole obligation of man.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13) What does keeping God’s commandments involve?

Part of God’s purpose for us is that we enjoy life. Solomon wrote: “With a man there is nothing better than that he should eat and indeed drink and cause his soul to see good because of his hard work. This too I have seen, even I, that this is from the hand of the true God.”—Ecclesiastes 2:24.

God also wants us to love and care for our family. Note the simple, practical guidance given to each family member.

“Husbands ought to be loving their wives as their own bodies.”—Ephesians 5:28.
“The wife should have deep respect for her husband.”—Ephesians 5:33.
“Children, be obedient to your parents.”—Ephesians 6:1.

If we apply those Bible principles, we will find a measure of happiness and contentment. However, the most important thing we can do is learn all we can about our Creator and draw close to him as our Friend. In fact, the Bible invites us to “draw close to God.” It then makes this remarkable promise: “He will draw close to you.” (James 4:8) If you accept this invitation, your life will take on real purpose.

Rosalind, quoted earlier, now feels that she has discovered the purpose of life. You can read what she says led her to that change in attitude in the article entitled “The Bible Changes Lives”.
What Did Jesus Say About the Purpose of Life?

Jesus had no doubt about the purpose of his life. He said: “For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth.” (John 18:37) Jesus spent his life teaching people the truth about God and His purposes.

Our life will take on real meaning if we follow Jesus’ example. In fact, Jesus invites us to learn from him. (Matthew 11:29) Consider just two ways in which we can do so.

Jesus taught that for us to be happy, we must be “conscious of [our] spiritual need.” (Matthew 5:3) We can satisfy our spiritual need if we take in knowledge of “the only true God, and of the one whom [he] sent forth, Jesus Christ.”—John 17:3.

Jesus commanded his followers to teach others about what they had learned. He said: “Go therefore and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit, teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you.”—Matthew 28:19, 20.

Those who satisfy their spiritual need by studying the Bible and applying what they learn find that their life changes for the better. They gain the conviction that their life has real purpose when they start helping others learn about God.