What is our task on Earth?

[Be-Ahavah U-Be-Emunah – translated by R. Blumberg]

Question: What is our task on Earth? What do we need to do?
Answer: That is the ultimate question. And the answer is simple: We are here in the world to serve the Master-of-the-Universe. To magnify His glory in the world.
Whatever a person does, however important his activities and however great his talents, they are nothing compared to his ultimate enterprise: being a partner with G-d in the Creation Act, in the great task of making G-d’s glory appear on earth. This is what affords man’s life its greatest significance, its greatest glory, its greatest success.
So how does one accomplish this? Maharal explains in his “Tiferet Yisrael” (Chapter 3) that man is special compared to everything else in the universe.
The “supreme beings” [Elyonim], i.e., the angels and the celestial sphere and the heavens, are pure and holy, both potentially and practically. The “earthly beings” [Tachtonim], i.e., matter and flora and fauna, are inferior in potential and in practical terms, and will never change, just as the supreme beings will never change. Man, however, is special. He is composed of both the supreme and the earthly, of soul and body. More precisely, he is in practical terms an earthly being, but in potential a supreme being. In order to transform his supremacy from a potential to a practical state, he needs toil.
“Man is born for toil” (Iyov 5:7). This is to say: toiling in Torah (Sanhedrin 99b). Man is born for toil, toil in Torah and toil in Mitzvah observance. The Mitzvot hallow man, as we say in our blessings, “Blessed be G-d… who has sanctified us with His Mitzvot”. The Mitzvot transform man from an earthly being into a celestial being, and that is man’s task. G-d created man to turn him into a celestial being.
Our Sages say, “G-d desired to have an earthly abode” (Tanchuma Naso 16, explained in Sefer HaTanya 36), meaning: an abode within earthly man, an abode within man’s deeds, man’s character, man’s thoughts, man’s emotions and man’s pleasures. That is the great goal, “to take pleasure in G-d”. This is explained at the beginning of Mesilat Yesharim: man can become so holy that he takes pleasure in G-d. The greatest source of pleasure is not in this world, but in the World-to-Come. Yet when a person reaches the level of “Chasidut”, saintliness, as described in Mesilat Yesharim, by then he has already acquired a certain measure of taking pleasure in G-d.
Indeed, Mesilat Yesharim is a ladder set on earth with its head reaching the heavens, explaining how man can become a supreme being, and how he can become more than what he is. Idolatry says: “Be what you are.” But we say, “Be more than what you are”. More and more, all the time. “There are higher and higher levels, with even higher ones beyond” (Kohelet 5:7). Yet the higher levels above us are not alien to us. They are within us.
They exist in us in potential. They are in our soul.
That is our task – to be partners with G-d in this great work, each person in accordance with his strengths, each in accordance with is his efforts and each in accordance with his current spiritual level.