Ambitious businesspeople, athletes, politicians—and zealots of all sorts—commit their full energies to advancing their personal agendas. They will lose sleep, drive themselves and stop at almost nothing to achieve their goals. Some may strive for integrity and honesty, but many will use any deceitful tactic, lie or evil to get their way. And for what? Is their all-consuming purpose worthwhile? Will it benefit the character and quality of life of those around them? What is the real goal for which all of us should be striving?
The Bible eloquently speaks of the vanity of man. Vanity in one sense is self-centeredness and selfishness. In a broader sense it is the uselessness, futility and short-term indulgence that goes nowhere and ends in death! The Psalmist stated it this way, "Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity" (Psalm 39:5, KJV). The NIV phrases it, "Each man's life is but a breath." The NKJV states, "Certainly every man at his best state is but vapor." Certainly, without God in the picture, without the long-term view of eternity, human beings accomplish nothing of eternal value. They die having lived their whole lives in vain!
The parable of the rich fool in Luke 12 reveals the vanity of making one's life goal the accumulation of physical possessions. The fool was so prosperous that he focused only on his own rewards. "So he said, [in Luke 12:18] 'I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. And I will say to my soul, "Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry."' But God said to him, 'Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?' So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God."
The rich fool was obsessed with selfish ambition and vanity. Again, what is the real goal set before all of us? Life has purpose and meaning that lasts beyond our physical existence. There is a spirit in man. There is a spiritual quest and potential far beyond the imaginings and philosophies of vain human beings. The Bible gives us many transcendent goals, but the foremost goal was given by the Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth: "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you" (Matthew 6:33). The Kingdom of God is the soon-coming, world-ruling government of God, ruled by the Prince of Peace and King of kings, Jesus Christ.
True Christians know that this should be their goal in life. We look forward to the return of the Savior to save the world from itself and institute lasting peace and prosperity for all humanity. In the meantime, we follow His precepts, particularly Luke 4:4, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.'" In our commitment to life's real goal, we cannot allow ourselves the false luxury of worldly distractions. Jesus warned us about the "cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches [which] choke the word, and he [the individual called by the gospel] becomes unfruitful" (Matthew 13:22).
It is time for all Christians to renew their commitment to wholeheartedly seek the Kingdom of God above everything else in life—and to resist the many distractions and detours leading to vanity. If you are unsure of your goal, please read our Tomorrow's World article, "What Is the Goal for True Christians?" or view our telecast, "What Is Your Real Goal?"
Jesus asked us to, "Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man" (Luke 21:36). We anticipate the Second Coming of Christ to this earth and His triumphal establishment of the Kingdom of God over all nations. We can be a part of that Kingdom for all eternity. That is life's real goal and purpose. Is it yours?