Have you ever sat and wondered what is your purpose?
Its an interesting exercise to think and discover your true purpose in life. For those of you who have been blessed to be parents, raising your children to become responsible adults who contribute to society is an awesome purpose. To those who have talents in music and the arts, to share those talents with others makes your purpose one of conveying beauty. For those who have an acumen in the business world, being able to build and contribute to commerce and productivity, its a purpose that can serve many. If you have the patience and skill to teach and inspire young minds, your purpose will live on in successive generations. If you have the skills and intellect to work in a healing capacity, you will impact untold numbers of lives.
Our purpose and our careers/professions are not always one and the same. Each of us have to make a living in some way or another. Sometimes our careers choose us, other times we choose those professions which we tend to be good at and are able to make a living wage.
Purpose, on the other hand, isn’t always derived from what we’re good at, or how we choose to earn the money we need to live. Purpose is something truly quite different altogether. Our purpose must be something that transcends what we do to earn our money, to raise our children, to teach the masses, to heal those who are sick, to provide jobs and support an economy, to enrich others through the beauty we create.
The Presbyterians developed what is known as the Westminster Catechism. It is a way to teach the essentials of the Christian faith. I myself grew up in the LCMS (Lutheran Church Missouri Synod). In our denomination we used Martin Luther’s Catechism. Each, approach the transmission of the faith in different ways. What I like in the Westminster Catechism it asks questions that seem relevant, and then answers them and provides biblical citations to support the answer.
The first question in the Westminster Catechism is:
“1. What is the chief end of man[sic]?”
The answer that follows is:
“Man’s[sic] chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him[sic] for ever.”
I really like the way our purpose is stated. We are to glorify God and enjoy God for ever. That sounds like a life-long purpose. A purpose which we each can do in whatever corner of the world we find ourselves in. A purpose that supersedes our careers, our talents, our gifts, our abilities. A purpose that can inform all we do, in all the places we go and all the ways we interact with the world around us.Take a look at the biblical references to support this claim of our purpose…For the first portion of our purpose, which is to glorify God we find the scripture references of…Psalm 86:9; Isaiah 60:21; Romans 11:36; 1 Corinthians 6:20 and 10:31. For the second portion of our purpose, which is to enjoy God for ever we find the scripture references of…Psalm 16:5-11 and 144:15; Isaiah 12:2; Luke 2:10; Philippians 4:4; and Revelation 21:3-4.
When we look at these references they give us an understanding of how the catechism can state our purpose so succinctly.
Now I know, you are probably asking “Tom, why are you boring us to death with these ancient things?” Friends, these can be foundational to how we live our lives, and what the outcome of our lives can truly be. If in all we do, we seek to glorify God, that means every moment of our days we are trying to show others a loving and grace-filled God who inhabits our souls. Whether we are singing, playing an instrument, painting a painting, teaching a young child, engaging in business, healing a body, we are showing those we interact with who God is through us. That’s glorifying God. When someone else can experience the grace, the forgiveness, the mercy and the love of God in what we say and do, God is glorified! As to the second part of our purpose, to enjoy God, when we do the works of God, our lives are blessed with a fulfillment not found in any other way. Think about that for a moment. When we glorify God in our words and actions, we can find a contentment that can’t be found in any other way. Our happiness, our joy, will be complete because our purpose will be achieved.
I can die a happy man, if I can look back and see the times I have glorified God. My happiness will be assured when I see others have been cared for, lifted up, served, and given the best God has to offer through me. I can’t find that happiness in the kind of home I can buy, or car I can purchase, or money I can accumulate. I can only find that happiness in the God who dwells in me.
I pray that each of us can find ways to glorify God in our lives. It might be the turning point for many of us, when we begin to truly live into our purpose. God’s love and blessing be upon each of you, today and every day.
Your fellow traveler on the Way,