Quito, Ecuador Photographer: Cayambe
In the heart of every person is a desire for purpose and to do something that matters. Some may have heard the fable of the Greek King Sisyphus who was sentenced by Zeus to roll an immense boulder up a hill only to have it roll back down afterwards, and then to subsequently and maddingly repeat this process forever. This story resonates with us, because meaninglessness can be so cruel to our souls. We were not meant to live purposeless lives. The great news however is that God offers purpose and fulfillment in the Gospel of his Son Jesus Christ. God invites and calls us to be the people of God and participate in the kingdom of God while on earth.
How does this look you may ask? To be used by God and to fulfill your purpose doesn’t mean you have to reach the mountain tops of your respective field, be some mega culture changer, have a microphone in your hand, or be known amongst many people. Fulfilling your purpose and being used by God will most ordinarily be found in the simple acts of obedience to God in everyday life. The Apostle Paul charged the Thessalonian church to “aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.” Being somebody for God isn’t the point, obedience is. God changes people’s lives, not us, God just so happens to decide to use us in the process.
Also, part of the purposes of God for our lives is to transform our lives into the image of Christ. God invites us to be transformed by the Holy Spirit and produce spiritual fruit. The Apostle Paul writes to the Galatian church that the fruit of the spirit is “love, joy, peace patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
Other than possessing the fruit of the Spirit what are some of the works and purposes of a Christian on earth? Help the poor, help those in a hard spot, pray for others, listen to others, care about others, care about people who are different from you, be kind on a consistent basis, serve the weak, forgive others, help widows, fight injustice justice, develop compassion, stand for truth even if it hurts, spend time with the broken hearted, preach the gospel, love boring people, love the unlovely, love weird people, commit yourself to the unseen task of fervent prayer, care about people, build community, meditate on God, enjoy His beauty, enjoy your life, be thankful, listen to good music, develop empathy, read the Scriptures, be generous, read other books, love your family, have fun with your family, serve others, intercede for others, work hard, be encouraging, and so many other things. But all of these things can be summed up with Love God and love others just as you love yourself.
If it seems like an impossible task, you are right. We will never be perfect at this, but we can grow by God’s immeasurable grace. We also know when we fail Jesus is our high priest who is compassionate and loving.
Let me end with a story I heard which I think relates to purpose:
I heard a sermon a few years back from a Pastor (I don’t remember who) about a time when he gave a bunch of athletes in a locker room a sermon. He told them all to raise their hands if they met or remembered their grandpa. A handful of hands went up. He then told them all to put their hands down, and asked everyone who met or remembered who their great grandpa, only a few raised their hand. Then he asked everyone who knew who their great great grandpa was, and nobody raised their hand. He then looked at the athletes and said “you see you are all only a few generations away from being forgotten, so do what counts with God.”
Be who God has called you to be, do what God called has called you to do. Put it simply be a person of God participating in the kingdom of God because that is the only thing that lasts into eternity.