In anyone's life, there will be a time when relationship, career success, youth, sex appeal, and popularity evade you. All of these things are things we look to for a sense of meaning and purpose in life, and without them, usually one of them in particular given our temperament and history, we cannot help but feel void. Lost. Without meaning.
But we have meaning. We have purpose. Many Christians would say, "Your meaning and purpose is to know God through Jesus Christ." I agree with that, but I think that can be a bit abstract. Plus, it sort of promotes the idea that I don't really have a meaning and purpose right here, in this life, right now, but that it is only found beyond the horizon of death and in the new age. What is missing is the tangible, earthy application.
Our meaning and purpose in this life are found in knowing Jesus Christ and partnering with Him as an instrument of His hand in this world. In other words, in concert with Jesus, in communion with Jesus as your partner and Lord, our true meaning and purpose are found in being an image of Jesus in the life of someone else, in loving our neighbor as ourselves. Our meaning and purpose are found in being a parent to our children, a friend to our friends, an ear to one who needs to be heard, a presence to one who is alone, a father to the fatherless, a peacemaker to one who is disturbed, a voice of loving truth and reason to one who is wandering in peril, love to the unloved, etc.
This is where things can get into trouble. Some people already overextend and exhaust themselves by "helping" others too much. But if you look closely at it, many of us are like that either because we are chasing or running away from something. That will not do. That yoke we are carrying is from us, not Jesus. This is not intended to be a means of trying to climb a ladder out of futility and oblivion or run away from the pain of life. This is not a means of saving ourselves, not a means of striving to achieve meaning in a meaningless world. This is intended to show us what is of true value and what is not. It is the recognition of what already has value and meaning. It is a recognition of the path that Jesus has already laid down ahead of us and for us. And thus, value is found in being complicit with Jesus in His love for this world -a world He has already done everything to redeem- as an instrument in the hands of our Friend and Master in the capacity and opportunities we are given. O that He would grant us such a privilege. Let us not squander it.