Rather than focusing on a single point as if you are writing an essay, you may want to focus on an ethos you want to create.
View your story as world-building (this is something you will find Orson Scott Card, author of Ender's Game reference frequently). The world you are building will reward certain behaviors by your characters and punish others. The world you are building may have a certain "bent," to it.
As an example, the in Ellison's The Invisible Man, all sorts of random things happen to the protagonist that end up making his life more complicated. The result is a story that leaves the reader feeling as if the entire world of the story was meaningless and nihilistic. Rather than hitting the reader over the head with nihilism, Ellison showed the reader a nihilistic world.
It is also possible to construct an absolutely wonderful story that does not try to move the reader towards seeing the world in a different way. In writing these stories the author is usually focused on showing the reader a specific character in all of his or her loves, wants, needs, desires, dreams, and fears. These characters don't necessarily have to drive towards a point in their existence in the story. They have to be themselves.
You can combine both of the above, or use just one for a successful story. In many ways Victorian novels and good science fiction or fantasty epitomize world-building, while modern short stories such as Olive Kitteridge move towards the opposite end of the spectrum.
And then again, you can write a plot-driven work of pure action fiction - it works for some writers.