Ash Wednesday: What is the Purpose of Life?

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 

Romans 8:28

A couple of days ago, Rebekah and I watched an episode of the Netflix show, “Dogs”. It’s a documentary series designed to explore the unique bonds between people and their pets. (Click here for the official trailer).

This particular installment focused on a family preparing for and then meeting the service dog being trained to help with their 6th grade daughter’s medical needs. It offered a glimpse into the focus of several dog-child pairings, then followed the principal family home with their new dog.

– photo from

It was a great story, of course; all dog stories touch my heart. But what the “A Kid With A Dog” episode also achieved was to help me understand a little more of the background Max Retriever brought to our family when we found each other two and a half years ago.

This is the story of Max too:

Max was trained in a similar way; he came to his family with a particular job assignment, with very specific responsibilities. He was trained to be quiet, to be a non-anxious presence, to walk slowly and carefully, almost steering his child around the house. But then there were allergy issues and other complications and he had to spend much of his time in the back garden, under the deck. He wasn’t able to hang out with his child, and he wasn’t allowed do his job any more.

The thought of it just about broke my heart. Max had a purpose in his life and then that purpose was taken away. We are so grateful that his original family loved him enough to help him find a new home where he could shine again.

We have to have purpose!

This, I believe, is one of the reasons he has been such a good fit at Maul Hall. Max takes care of both of us! He also goes next door and takes care of my mum. And now he gets to visit at the assisted living center and offer his gift of presence there too.

– Max taking care of my mum

Purpose is key to a meaningful life. We have to know why we exist and what our purpose is going forward.

This is why the first question of the Westminster Shorter Catechism is so true and so timeless for a fundamental understanding of the Christian Faith:

  • Q. What is the chief end of humankind?
  • A. Humankind’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy God forever.

Ash Wednesday:

Today, Ash Wednesday, is the first day of the season of Lent. What better day to reexamine our purpose as human beings and to make a new commitment to both glorify and enjoy our Creator.

This whole conversation begs the question, “Does my life offer any evidence that I live purposefully and joyfully?”

This is our journey along the road less traveled by, our pilgrimage on the dusty road to Jerusalem, reaching toward Easter.

Reaching Toward Easter. – DEREK

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