Love, the Purpose of Life

At church this morning, the pastor said that the purpose of life is not to get rich, but to learn how to love.

I do not always know how I, as an introvert, can love other people.  One thing I liked about a recent book that I read about love, however, was that it was sensitive to that very point.  It was by a pastor of a church that is renowned for reaching out to the community, and he said that some do service work for the church without interacting with others.  They work behind the scenes, or they do the actual hands-on labor (i.e., washing the cars).

I get a little leery at Christian talk about putting other people first.  I’ve been watching The Thorn Birds lately, a miniseries from the 1980’s.  In the first episode, Frank is telling his little sister Meggie to accept the priest’s offer to provide her with an education.  She needs to do something for herself, he tells her, because nobody else is going to look out for her.  That advice may be a bit one-sided, but it is not totally wrong.  What’s ironic, though, is that I admire Frank in that scene precisely because he is thinking about somebody else—-his sister—-desiring her well-being even if that does not affect him personally.

I would not say that the purpose of life is to get rich.  I do hope, however, to get to the point where I can provide for my needs, and maybe have enough left over for my loves, books and movies!

At the same time, I think that I should be conscious of others.  There are other people in the world, with thoughts, feelings, and needs, just like me.  I would be wrong to disregard that.

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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2 Responses to Love, the Purpose of Life

  1. Nice post James 🙂


  2. Laura Droege says:

    Sometimes, being conscious of others is difficult for me. It can feel overwhelming (especially when I’m depressed and dragging myself around everywhere) to think of others as actual human beings with feelings. Or, on the other end, I might start thinking about it too much, worried for every other person I encounter and what they’re going through, as if I’m trying to take on the pain of the world. That’s not my job, thank God, and I can have boundaries between others’ intense emotions and mine. Loving others strikes a balance (of sorts) between identifying with others’ pain to the point of being incapacitated by it (forgetting that we’re different people!) and callously disregarding it (forgetting that we are people, even though we’re different).

    I think I may have found a potential blog post topic. Thanks, James, for sharing your thoughts!

    Liked by 1 person

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