“Indeed, even though there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as in fact there are many gods and many lords— yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.” (1 Corinthians 8:5-6)
These two verses appear in a longer passage in which Paul is addressing the issue of the Christians in Corinth eating foot offered to idols, and how their liberty could “become a stumbling block to the weak.” (Verse 9) In the process, they could sin against members of their own community. (See 1 Corinthians 8:7-13)
But for right now, I am interested in some words Paul writes that, for him, are not up for debate. They are absolutely foundational for Paul. He says, “… for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.” (verse 6, above)
We exist for God, Paul says. We might be born in a certain country, end up in a particular career, be single or married, have children or not have children, speak Spanish or English or French or Russian or Japanese. We may have grown up in a particular faith or with no faith at all, be well off or poor, be well educated or had our education interrupted way too early. But once we call Christ our Lord and begin to comprehend that all things come into existence through Christ, including us, then we see with new eyes. It dawns on us - at one point or another - that we exist for God.
We don’t exist to make as much money as we can during our lifetime.
We don’t even exist to be happy, although happiness - dare we say joy? - can certainly be a byproduct of a life lived for God.
We exist for God.
We exist to serve God, we exist to love God and the people of God, we exist to worship God, we exist to care for God’s creation, we exist to seek and do God’s will. Since God is love, and since Jesus was God in-the-flesh and fully realized Love in a human being, I suppose it makes sense that Jesus said we were to love one another just as he loves us.
We exist for God.
We exist to learn how to love, just as God loves - “… for he makes his sun rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous.” (Matthew 5:45)
How does this simplify and clarify our lives, I wonder, if we know that we exist for God?
How does this simplify your life, if you know that you work for God, play for God, serve God, sing for God, rest for God, teach for God, learn for God, forgive for God, reconcile for God, do justice for God, make peace for God, love for God, and take care of the planet for God?
We hear people ask, sometimes facetiously and sometimes seriously, “Why are we here?”
According to Paul, we exist for God.
Do your agree? And if so, does knowing this set you free?