Have you ever driven through sections of town that raise questions? When you look around, you can’t help but wonder what happened? Have you driven through a city to a section where you can literally see a lack of hope and future in the faces of the people and the properties and the landscaping? The entire area just looks and feels empty of life. There is survival, but that’s about it. And often it gets summed up as this – Why am I still here?
So often we look to government to provide for people who are poor – and government does to some degree. But government is limited – it can only touch on people’s material needs. It can’t touch the intangibles.
These are intangibles like community, spiritual needs, existential needs. I don’t care who you are, we all have these needs and often these needs are going unmet.
This is an opportunity for the church. This is one area that the church has a unique opportunity and role in the lives of people – to do something that no one else can do. To help people answer the question of why they are still here.
There are many people who seek purpose and meaning. It’s as if they are waiting for an answer to just show up. They don’t know where to search for the answer to the age-old question – and so they just exist. And after you have done that for a long time, you forget that you were searching. And instead, you bide your time, you distract yourself, and you find ways to fill the void in life. Too many turn to unhealthy distractions of drugs, alcohol, sex, and entertainment. Others turn to work and materialism.
But none of these can offer the answer to these deep questions about life. And this is where the church can step in and help people with these questions. It’s what makes the church unique. But it requires a long-term commitment. It requires an outward focus. It requires trust and a willingness to ask difficult questions and sit with uncomfortable questions. It takes time.
Purpose and meaning – even people who we think don’t care about these things really do. Purpose and meaning are the difference between existing today and having direction.