Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, the sheep of His pasture. — Psalm 100:1-3
From the beginnings of the recorded history of humanity, it seems that humans have been grappling with the questions: Why am I here? What is the reason for my existence? These questions are universal. They lurk deep within the secret chambers of every human on earth regardless of race, color, ethnic heritage, socioeconomic status or nationality. Philosophers like Plato and Socrates have attempted to explore these questions and their efforts have, in most instances, yielded more questions than answers.
But one of the conclusions reached is that the deepest craving of the human spirit is to find a sense of significance and relevance. Dr. Benjamin Elijah Mays, the legendary president of Morehouse College from 1940 to 1967, said, “Every man and woman is born into the world to do something unique and something distinctive and if he or she does not do it, it will never be done.”
Another conclusion reached is that, until one finds God, one cannot find ultimate purpose. Until God is found, existence has no meaning. Until God is found, there is no true joy. Until God is found, life is worthless.
God is that good thing that must be found. And God, being good, helps us understand that purpose is always connected to God and God is always connected to purpose. And humans’ greatest purpose is to praise the Lord.
We don’t praise God necessarily for the trial, for the sickness, for the test or for the trouble. We don’t necessarily praise God for the evil circumstances. We praise Him in spite of the circumstances, in spite of the trials, tribulations, sickness, troubles, sickness and pain. Praise is an act of faith that says, “Even now, with no victory or relief in view, I know that God is able.”
We praise Him in our approach to Him and our appreciation of Him. We praise Him because He is God, our Creator. We praise Him because we are His people. We praise Him because He is good, His mercy continues without end and His truth endures through all generations.
Lord, we raise our hearts, heads and hands to you. You are the reason for our very existence. Thank you for not allowing humans to be the creators of life, but you made this world the way you desired it and designed it. Thank you for reminding us that we have purpose. Amen.
The Rev. Walter T. Richardson may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.