Anthony Bourdain. Kate Spade. If you follow the national news at all, you might recognize these names. Bourdain was a celebrity chef, author, travel documentarian and television personality while Spade was a fashion designer and businesswoman from New York City. Unfortunately, both of these individuals took their lives this week. Two people who had it all—national recognition, fame, fortune. What more could you want? Yet both of these people felt so empty in their lives that they couldn’t face another day and decided to end it all. Unfortunately, they are not alone. Suicide rates are increasing to the point that it is now the 10th largest cause of death in the United States.
Of course, each case is different, but we are forced to wonder what brings people to such a point of despair where they literally cannot face the thought of another day. Certainly, there may be some true mental health issues at play but I wonder out loud if celebrities like these two just reach the point in life where they realize they have achieved it “all”, yet they feel empty. They have no real meaning or purpose. They have reached the pinnacle yet are still unsatisfied so why go on anymore?
Our reading passage for today in Ephesians shows us our real purpose in life. Eph 1: 4 says, “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love.” Paul teaches us that God chose us to belong to Christ and furthermore, He chose us to live holy and blameless lives. We did not just arrive here by accident and are forced to live meaningless existences until the day we die but instead, God has a purpose for our lives that He had in mind before we were born. That purpose is not fame and fortune, which time and time again proves to be empty for those who achieve it, but instead a life that is God-centered with a desire to live the way He intended.
To further give us a sense of purpose and security, Paul writes in chapter 3 about us trying to get a grasp of the love that God has for us, a love that “passeth knowledge” in vs. 19. So while others in this life are trying to find a sense of fulfillment and security in things that don’t really matter, God wants us to realize we have been chosen and loved in Him before the foundation of the world and have been given various goals and missions, one of which is to live holy and blameless lives. May we recognize the security and sense of purpose we have in Christ!