An Invitation to the Circle of Life

An Invitation to the Circle of Life February 27, 2024

~ It’s too simple! Fulfill your life purpose … while leaving a lasting legacy. ~


The “Circle of Life” describes our place in family and community. It is our greatest purpose and legacy in life; greater even than our highest achievements.

What is the circle of life?

It is being born and raised as a dependent child, maturing through adolescence, until as adults, we generously share our time and resources with children, the elderly and those outside of our family who are disabled or disadvantaged. In the latter years of life, we become dependent on others again, like we were as children.

Within a functional circle, all ages practice trust, vulnerability and accountability. All share insights and experiences, regardless of age or ability. All are receptive to advice and correction. All are needed for their contributions. Individuals who don’t have a family can create a similar type of community with trustworthy friends of all ages.

This concept embodies agape love and the God who is love. It models Jesus who said it is better to give than to receive. Although this is a biblical concept, it is not exclusively “Christian,” being common to all people who follow the law of love. No family or culture can survive if it is dominated by those who take more than they give.

The circle of life is core to our life purpose. We might think of purpose in terms of life skills and big achievements, when in fact, purpose is much simpler than that. It’s more childlike and closer to home. No calling is higher than the circle of life. All other callings are hypocritical if we get this wrong.

There is no greater joy in life than providing for family and taking care of those who have special needs. At times this becomes tiring and tedious, as we work and provide, day after day, simply because it is the right thing to do. Other times it can be thrilling, as our giving creates fun and amazing experiences with others.

Unfortunately, not everyone experiences this joy. Some only take. Others believe they have a mission that is more important than loving others. I observed this in my father who as a pastor attempted to achieve big religious things while neglecting important aspects of family. These kinds of “generational curses” can be broken simply by learning to be generous, joy-filled and other-centered. This is a lesson a toddler taught me, who happened to be my firstborn child!

The circle of life is not complicated. Even a child can understand it. Moreover, intellectual justifications or theologies only obscure its simple truth. When we look back over our lives someday, the greatest joys and regrets will not be about our accomplishments and beliefs … but about the people we love.

Keep that final perspective in mind. Know that your primary purpose on earth is to be a generous giver and receiver in the circle of life.

Additional Insights for Religious Minds

This “circle of life “claim is too simple and naïve for some religious folk. It is devoid of theology. It has none of the religious language of faith-journeys and walks-with-God and experiencing-the-Lord and end times urgency. It’s too easy! And yet Jesus said, “Unless you become like a child, you cannot enter the kingdom of God.”

The Apostle Paul summarized our primary life objective in these few words: “The entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Galatians 5:14). There are no qualifications or contradictions here. No theologies supersede the law of love. We cannot justify hurting people for the sake of doing “God’s work” (as was said in my household when I was a child, or as is said by those who will fight or kill others because of their faith). This is cruel, prideful and self-centered. People of religion who think this way might consider what it means to be “born again.” They might receive the mind of a child and stop believing their mission allows them to harm others.

Is it ever right to abandon your family? Yes, there are times when people must unplug themselves from unhealthy, dysfunctional families and communities. But scripture and the law of love demand that we support our family and the poor and oppressed until death, as much as we are able, even from afar. There are no exceptions.

Here is a useful metaphor: Imagine sharing a meal with family at a circular table. Each person is on the same level. They turn to face their neighbor to receive amazing food and nourishment, then they turn and pass that blessing on. They honor God and the people who provided this sustenance. They share conversation, insights and experiences. They give and receive advice and counsel. They share stories. They laugh and they cry.

This is the embodiment of love. This is Christ incarnate. This is godliness refined.

At times, the circle of life can be childish and fun.

At other times it can be exhausting and painful.

The circle of life is simple.

It is fulfilling.

It is godly and good.

It is love incarnate.

It is our highest purpose.

It is the fulfillment of God’s highest law.

Nothing on earth is more important than the circle of life.


A man travels the world over in search of what he needs, and returns home to find it. — George A. Moore[1]

In every conceivable manner, the family is a link to our past, bridge to our future. — Alex Haley[2]



Image by James Werning

[1] “George Moore Quotes,” Goodreads,

[2] “Alex Haley Quotes,” Goodreads,

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