Fulfilling Our Created Purpose in Everyday Life

God is not just for Sunday mornings, church or Bible reading. Life with God is an all day, every day affair. But how do we learn to see God’s presence in every day life?

We go back to creation. We see that God created culture and work life as the way in which Adam and Eve would live for him in this world. Understanding that, we can see our own work and play as glorifying to God.

In his magnificent poem, Paradise Lost, John Milton imagines how Adam might have seen the life of working, sleeping, and eating in light of His created purpose to live for God every moment. With a little imagination, we can apply this poem to our own eating, sleeping, and working. Here is a section from Book 4 of Paradise Lost. Here Adam describes the work they have to do and all the pleasures they can experience, noting that God’s one prohibition is not hard at all and surrounded by so many good things.

Sole partner and sole part of all these joys,
Dearer thy self then all; needs must the Power
That made us, and for us this ample World
Be infinitely good, and of his good
As liberal and free as infinite, [ 415 ]
That rais’d us from the dust and plac’t us here
In all this happiness, who at his hand
Have nothing merited, nor can perform
Aught whereof he hath need, he who requires
From us no other service then to keep [ 420 ]
This one, this easie charge, of all the Trees
In Paradise that bear delicious fruit
So various, not to taste that only Tree
Of knowledge, planted by the Tree of Life,
So near grows Death to Life, what ere Death is, [ 425 ]
Some dreadful thing no doubt; for well thou knowest
God hath pronounc’t it death to taste that Tree,
The only sign of our obedience left
Among so many signes of power and rule
Conferrd upon us, and Dominion giv’n [ 430 ]
Over all other Creatures that possess
Earth, Aire, and Sea. Then let us not think hard
One easie prohibition, who enjoy
Free leave so large to all things else, and choice
Unlimited of manifold delights: [ 435 ]
But let us ever praise him, and extoll
His bountie, following our delightful task
To prune these growing Plants, and tend these Flours,
Which were it toilsom, yet with thee were sweet.

At the end of the day, the poet describes them preparing for sleep and how they would process where sleep fits into God’s purpose for them:

Thus at thir shadie Lodge arriv’d, both stood [ 720 ]
Both turnd, and under op’n Skie ador’d
The God that made both Skie, Air, Earth and Heav’n
Which they beheld, the Moons resplendent Globe
And starrie Pole: Thou also mad’st the Night,
Maker Omnipotent, and thou the Day, [ 725 ]
Which we in our appointed work employed
Have finisht happie in our mutual help
And mutual love, the Crown of all our bliss
Ordained by thee, and this delicious place
For us too large, where thy abundance wants [ 730 ]
Partakers, and uncropt falls to the ground.
But thou hast promis’d from us two a Race
To fill the Earth, who shall with us extoll
Thy goodness infinite, both when we wake,
And when we seek, as now, thy gift of sleep (read this verison online here.

If we could begin to think of our work, our pleasures, and our sleep in this way, we could truly begin to fulfill our created purpose of serving God in all of life.


Photo by Pan Species on Unsplash


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