You may have heard a story of a man who had ordered a desktop computer from IBM when they came early into the market. The system was delivered with clear instructions on how to set it up. He read the basic instructions, figured out how to set it up and started using it. After using it for a few weeks, he wrote to IBM asking them to replace the coffee mug holder that came with the computer.
The staff in the tech department were at a loss to figure out what the customer was talking about. They called him to find out but could not figure what he was saying. They sent their representative to check it out. When asked to show the coffee mug holder, the customer presses what happened to be a button that brings out the CD ROM drive and out came the broken CD tray. The customer did not know what a CD ROM drive was and mistook the CD tray for a coffee mug holder and started using it as one, and it broke.
The moral of the story: If you don’t know how to use a thing, you are bound to abuse it. Just as it is important to know the purpose of various things in life, it is even more important to know the purpose of life itself.
In this article, we will see how important it is to have a purpose in life and that the joy of life is in pursuing that purpose.
Adam was given the task of tending the garden and the privilege of naming the animals. Adam and Eve were asked to be fruitful and multiply; subdue the earth and have dominion over all the creation (Genesis 1:28). Powerful projects to be excited all their life. Purpose gives excitement. Life is boring without a meaningful pursuit. It can even be depressing.
People without a purpose are drifters. To them, the grass is always greener on the other side because they do not know the value of what they have. There is no sense of joy nor satisfaction in their lives because they have not set out to pursue anything significant or with any vigour. Such people never experience a sense of achievement and consequently the joy of achieving.
On the contrary, those that have a clear purpose, are confident, energetic and focussed. They are clear in their mind and pursue their goals with passion. They are more joyful for having achieved a purpose and generous in sharing the fruits of such success. I am not saying that purpose alone will give you joy as there are other factors like family and friends who could enhance the joy of pursuing a purpose. Purposeful people can weather unexpected storms. They keep going in the face adversity (Romans 8: 35-39).People without a purpose are drifters. To them, the grass is always greener on the other side because they do not know the value of what they have.
Jesus had a clear purpose in His life on earth. He came to proclaim and establish the Kingdom of God. He did it in three short years. He was clear about His purpose, and passionate to fulfil it. He was never distracted by anything that did not contribute to His purpose, even ministry of healing.
They wanted to make Him king but He turned it down. Someone requested Jesus to go and settle a property dispute. It was not part of His brief so stayed clear of it. His purpose and timing was impeccable. Thirdly, He was clear about His purpose and timing as He had His ear inclined to the voice of His Father.Therefore, purposes in life, the time table to fulfil them and a step-by-step direction to accomplish them comes from our heavenly Father.
Abraham found his purpose in the call of God to separate himself so that nations could come from him to be God’s people. Moses took up the purpose to liberate people of Israel from bondage to freedom and Promised Land. Peter was to become the foundation of the Church Christ was to build. Paul purposed to take the gospel to the gentiles. All of them received revelation and developed a divine sense of purpose. They had to bid His time and wait on Him to receive clear instructions to accomplish it.
Purposes are not only about liberating nations, occupying promised lands and turning nations to Christ. They could also be simple things like mopping floors, serving meals, keeping gates, driving vehicles, etc. Teaching students, building bridges, keeping books, raising crops and healing people are a few others. What we do becomes purposeful when we know that God has given us this task, he will tell us when and how to do it.
Like Abraham, Moses or Paul, we may not have heard God’s voice through lightning and thunder about our purpose in life. In the words of Paul, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. (Colossians 3:23, 24). Therefore, no matter what the task, it assumes a divine sense of purpose when we do it for the Lord and the reward is sure.Very few people end up doing what they like. Most people unwittingly choose what pays more or what gives them importance and an easy life.
Very few people end up doing what they like. Most people unwittingly choose what pays more or what gives them importance and an easy life. Such motivations can land us in most unfulfilling and frustrating situations. If you are in such an unsatisfying situation do not leave your post till the Lord shows you another beyond a shadow of doubt. Till such time steel yourself to give your best to the task at hand. That is your godly purpose for now.
As much as purposes for our lives come from God, they generate an energy of their own (passion if you like) when they are done for Him with love. It is not the profile of the task or the setting of it that gives us the primary motivation but the fact that we are doing it for Him. When we miss this important fact, we fall into a great temptation of comparing our task with the task of another and feel superior or inferior.
But if we are clear that the Master has asked us to do it and we do it as unto Him with love and reverence, it becomes holy and sacred and stands by itself. That is why the Master rewarded the faithfulness of the two servants in multiplying their talents and punished the one who buried it (Matthew 25:14-30). Imagine, if the second servant had said, “Why did the master give me only two talents and five to the other one?” and went and buried his two talents. It would have been a terrible mistake.It is important to discover the spiritual gifts given to us by God and start employing them in the local church you belong to.
Every member of the Body of Christ – the Church – is expected to play a part, perform a function and contribute to her growth. God has given us spiritual gifts for such a purpose. It is important to discover the spiritual gifts given to us by God and start employing them in the local church you belong to. It is in giving that we receive. We will grow with the church too.
Pursuing purposes with passion is easier when our work is acknowledged, recognized and appreciated. But it may not be the case always. Consider the story of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32). The father pursued his purpose of parenting with a passion irrespective of how the sons reacted. Even today, many well-meaning parents sacrifice a lot and do many things for their children. Sometimes the children are just ungrateful and are even abusive of their parents. But if we do what we do as unto the Lord, we are happy to hear commendation from our Heavenly Father for what we have done irrespective of the outcome. Sometimes, our bosses are not appreciative of our work but if we are clear that our purpose is to please our Master, we are happy. If the bosses too recognize and acknowledge our work, it is a double blessing.
Just as we purpose in our hearts to do great things for the Lord, like Daniel we must also purpose in our hearts not to defile ourselves with the ways of the world. We must avoid the “lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life” (1 John 2:16). Many great men and women of God have fallen to the wiles of the Devil. Watch out and be on guard in prayer.
Over a period of time, people tend to become cold in the pursuit of a purpose. Specially, when it is a long term goal. Nobody ever pleased God with a half-hearted approach to life. Strong words were given to the angel of the church in Laodicea: “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – I am about to spit you out of my mouth (Revelation 3:16)”
Purposeful living can be exciting and you might think everyone will fall in line and cheer you. No. You will be surprised that some of your own will oppose you, abandon you and even betray you. But remember, if you are about a God-given purpose, have a sense of divine timing and are prayerfully pursuing it, God is on your side. Therefore, “if God be for us, who can be against us” (Romans 8:31)?
Not only people in the Bible but heroes of faith (people who did things for God, no matter what) abound in every generation. In our own generation we have seen Billy Graham, Mother Theresa and Graham Staines. These are global figures but in each nation we have our own home-grown heroes who inspire us to live purposeful lives. Look for someone around you who lives a purposeful life with a sense of divine mandate, perfect timing and spiritual direction. Seek their mentorship. Tomorrow you can mentor others who seek such life.
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