3 Things Worse Than Death

“The greatest tragedy is not death, but life without purpose.”

– Rick Warren

What is worse than death? It is life without a purpose and, specifically, living without the purpose of God.

Life Is Meaningless Without God

Solomon saw life from a secular or godless perspective at times in the Book of Ecclesiastes, where he wrote, “Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity” (Eccl. 1:2). Living apart from God by being separated by sin (Isaiah 59:1-2) makes like meaningless. There really isn’t any meaning to life without God. For those who disbelieve in God, we are only a random set of molecules destined to death and decay, only to be recycled back into nature. How do people live their lives like that? I can’t imagine how hard that is, but that was me at one point, before I was saved. Even the psalmist declared, “Remember how fleeting my life is. For what futility you have created all humanity” (Psalm 8:47).

Life Is Meaningless Without His Glory

We were created to glorify God, and when we don’t do that and take glory or credit for ourselves, we are living outside of the purposes of God and actually robbing God of what He deserves: glory! God thunders from heaven, “I am the LORD; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols” (Isaiah 42:8). Again He says, “I will not yield my glory to another” (Isaiah 42:11). We have nothing to boast about except that we’re pretty good at sinning. We can’t even boast of our works that brought us salvation because this was a free gift of God and not earned by anything we did or could ever do (Eph. 2:8-9). To live outside of seeking to glorify God, we are seeking to live outside of His purpose, and that makes our life much more meaningless. If someone says that they’ve earned their salvation, then what they’re really saying is that “Christ died for no purpose” (Gal. 2:21), which, of course, He didn’t.

Meaning with Purpose

The Book of Ephesians is like no other. It gives us good insight into God’s purposes for our life, and His purposes for our life started before our life did. In fact, “in him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will” (Eph. 1:11), and it was “according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Eph. 3:11). God has done this by “making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ” (Eph. 1:9), for which He has “predestined us for adoption as sons (and daughters) through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will” (Eph. 1:5). See the underlying theme Paul is writing about? We were created for His purpose. We were called according to His purpose. He revealed the mystery of His will in Jesus Christ according to His purpose. Therefore, there is no doubt that the greatest tragedy is not death but life without purpose and, specifically, the purposes of God.


Life has true meaning for the Christian because this is not our home. We are simply pilgrims or sojourners passing through to a better and everlasting home in the presence of the Lord, and, speaking for myself, I cannot wait.