Discovering Purpose

What if our life was about greater purpose than we often realize? How would knowing that purpose change our direction?


Jon Gordon, in an article titled “Working for a Bigger Purpose” wrote the following:


“I believe there’s a flawed perception in our society that in order to live a life of purpose we have to leave our jobs and go solve world hunger, feed the homeless, move to Africa, or start a charity. While these are all noble, needed causes with many who are called to do these very things, for others of us our bigger purpose can be found in the here and now, in the jobs we have, right under our noses. And when we find and live this purpose, it will provide the ultimate fuel for a meaningful life.” [1]


I would agree with Mr. Gordon. I also believe many of us struggle with finding purpose in our lives.


LIGHT


As Christians, you and I have been given one of the greatest purposes we can have. In fact, I don’t know if there is a higher purpose we can be called to. Christians are called to share the hope of Christ with others. Christians are called to share the good news of Jesus with those around us. Christians are called to live out the gospel of Christ in our lives.


Matthew 5: 14-16 (NKJV)

“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”


Jesus describes Himself as the “Light of the world” (ref. Jn. 8: 12). It is not a small thing that He speaks of His disciples, those who follow after Him as light. Christians shine forth the light of Christ, the hope and truth of the gospel. What greater purpose can be given than to shine forth the glorious news of our Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus!

The apostle Paul wrote, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Eph. 2:10). As Christians, our purpose is to live out our lives walking in His good works. As we do, the light of Christ’s goodness, His truth, is seen in our lives. As we shine forth His truth, we point others to our Father in heaven so they, together with us, can glorify Him. Is there a higher calling for our lives?


VOCATION


Here is where I think Mr. Gordon is absolutely correct. Most of us tend to think, "I’m just a homemaker or an accountant." or "I’m a carpenter or a project manager." What we often fail to do is connect our vocation with our mission.

What we often fail to do is connect our vocation with our mission.

Everything we do is, at some level, an investment in the lives of others. As we wake up and head off to work or as I set out to make our house a home, this is what we need to remember, I am investing in the lives of others. What do I want them to know? What do I want them to see? I want them to see Jesus, I want them to know Christ and the power of His resurrection. I want them to know the One who gave all to redeem a fallen, broken, and hurting world.


In (Acts 9) we are told about a woman named Tabitha. She was known for her “good works and charitable deeds” (ref. Acts 9: 36). When she died, the apostle Peter was not far away from where she was. The community sent two men and implored Peter to come to them. Peter did, and the Scriptures record this woman was raised from the dead. Because of this, many believed in Christ.


As we read this account, we need to be careful not to overlook the life of Tabitha. She made tunics and garments for the widows of her community (ref. Acts 9: 39). These are the ones that called for Peter. Tabitha was investing in the lives of people.


Because she had invested so much and made such an impact, Peter was called. As Peter prayed, her life was restored. Hearing and seeing this, many believed in the Lord. Without the investment, would Peter have been called? What about those who believed in the Lord? I don’t know what we can say. But what we do know is because of her investment in the lives of others, Peter was called on this day.


We need to connect our vocation to our mission. As Christians, we are doing more than just heading out to a job. We are working to carry forward Christ’s mission. We are working to restore a fallen and broken world. We are working to invest in the lives of others.

THE BODY


In considering "church," I think we have a tendency to focus on the Sunday morning assembly and less on our day-to-day lives. Christians are the church, at all times and not just at certain times. However, as Christians we are connected to a larger body (ref. Eph. 1: 22-23), we are connected to His church.

Christians are the church, at all times and not just at certain times.

1 Corinthians 12: 12-14

For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. For in fact the body is not one member but many.


How does His body, the church, carry forward the mission of Christ as one? There are many things we could consider. Let me just provide a few ways in which we carry forward His mission as the body of Christ.


Worship


When we come together as the Lord’s church, His body, part of the reason we come together is so that we can worship the Lord. In our worship, we have the opportunity to both sing and proclaim the Lord’s greatness as well as to build one another up through our words.


The apostle Paul in (Eph. 5), speaking about being filled with the Spirit, says we are “children of light” (ref. Eph. 5:8). The fruit of the Spirit, as Paul records, is “all goodness, righteousness, and truth.” As Christians, as children of light, we are to have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness. In contrast, our lives are to be filled with the Spirit. Paul recorded:


Ephesians 5: 17-21

Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God.


How do we fill our lives with the Spirit? In the context of Ephesians, we do so speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in our heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God. We do so as we submit to one another.


When we come together, we have the opportunity to proclaim His goodness. We do so in our attitudes and our relationships with one another. We do so with our words as we proclaim His goodness, His truth, and His righteousness.


We move the mission of Christ forward being filled with the Spirit as we proclaim His praises (ref. 1 Peter 2: 9).


Equipping & Edification


We move the mission of Christ forward as we equip one another for the work of ministry. Again, we notice the words of the apostle Paul.


Ephesians 4: 11-13

“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ”


The Lord gifted and sent out apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. He did so for the building up of the body of Christ, the church. However, we do see more in this passage. We are each to be built up and equipped for the work of ministry. As Coffman notes:


“Not only those called apostles, prophets, evangelists and pastor-teachers, but the entire church should be engaged in spiritual labor.”[2]


There is a struggle within our culture of the church today to be entertainment-based. What I mean by this is many assemblies come together with a focus on making our assemblies about the experience. One of the problems this creates is a consumeristic attitude. A “What’s in it for me?” or “What do I get from this?” attitude. We don’t come to church to engage and equip one another. We don’t come to church with the attitude of building one another up. We come to church with the expectation of being entertained. This attitude fails the mission of Christ. We should have a lot less focus on ourselves and more of a focus on one another.


We move the mission of Christ forward when we equip one another for the work of ministry as we build up the body of Christ.


TODAY


As Christians, we live with a higher purpose than we often realize. We demonstrate the Lord’s goodness, His truth, His mercy, His forgiveness, and reconciliation as we live our lives reflecting His light. As we go about our days, may we not forget our purpose of carrying His mission forward.


notes:

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

1. Gordon, Jon. “Working for a Bigger Purpose.” michaelhyatt.com. June 17, 2011. michaelhyatt.com/working-for-a-bigger-purpose. Date accessed: November 18, 2020

2. Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Ephesians 4". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament”.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/ephesians-4.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999. Date accessed: November 20, 2020


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