There was a time in my life when I felt like I had no purpose. The doorway to things I believed God had asked me to do seemed to be closed. I thought God was calling me into church planting, but all the doors slammed shut. I was a struggling insurance salesman who was spending more on gas than I was making in commissions. It seemed like I would never have the chance to fulfill the dreams that God had placed in my heart. I finally came to the place where I told God that I was okay if it was His plan to “waste my life” doing things that made little sense to me. I would trust Him and be grateful and satisfied with my life.
Six months later, a pathway to my dreams opened in a much broader way than what I had expected. Though my plan had been to support myself as an insurance salesman while planting a church, God brought me a full-time paid position as a church planter. God is the one who had placed the church planting dream in my heart all along, but He had to teach me not to draw my identity and worth from what I do.
This has been a lifelong struggle for me. I have always been an overachiever and drew my sense of self-worth from my accomplishments. However, because of the trials and experiences God has brought me through, I now find great freedom drawing my identity from Christ. I have nothing to prove; I am a child of the King of the Universe and I represent Him in this world. I still feel the pull of accomplishment, a desire for accolades, and a drive to prove what I am capable of. I must constantly guard my heart and refocus my thoughts on how much God loves me. This helps me enjoy life and ironically, to accomplish more than I ever could by striving.
As I look around our world, I see people everywhere scratching, clawing, and hustling to achieve something so they can finally feel good about themselves. All their striving is chasing after the wind. The following anecdote illustrates the situation of so many in our world today. A man was in a hurry to catch his plane. He pushed his way through a crowd and ran for a taxi. He pushed aside an old lady that was slowly getting into one and jumped in. He yelled, “Go fast! I am in a hurry, there is a big tip in it for you if you drive fast.” The driver floored it and took off. The man put his head in his hands, rubbed his eyes and tried to relax.
Ten minutes later he opened his eyes and glanced out the window and saw they were going in the wrong direction. Realizing he hadn’t told the driver where to take him, he called out, “Do you know where you’re going?” The driver replied, “No, but I am driving fast”.
There are many people in our world like that. They are moving fast, but they don’t know where they are going. They are going the wrong way because they don’t understand what their purpose is. Imagine if I was a toolmaker, and I made hammers, saws, tape measures and similar tools. But let’s imagine these tools were intelligent and capable of acting on their own, and the hammer decided its purpose was to cut things, and tried to act accordingly and the saw decided its purpose was to measure things—imagine a running chain saw coming at you to measure your inseam… yikes!
The one who makes something knows what it is for. He is the one who created it for a specific reason. It’s ridiculous for a creation to tell the creator what its purpose is. Isaiah 29:15 puts it this way:
You turn things upside down, as if I thought the potter to be like the clay! Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, “You did not make me”? Can the pot say to the potter, “You know nothing”? (NIV)
In case you have any doubt who the clay is in this text, Isaiah tells us explicitly in Isaiah 64:8. He says, “Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” (NIV)
Someone once said, “There are two great days in a person’s life — the day we are born and the day we discover why.” God has placed within each of us a dream that gives us insight into what His purpose is for us. But sometimes life happens in such a way that the dream seems lost and everything seems to have gone horribly wrong. However, God’s purpose for us has never changed; it is just different from what we imagined. Sadly, if we don’t understand what our purpose is, we will constantly feel like our life is a struggle because we will always be working against what God is trying to do through us.
We must find our purpose in God. If anyone tries to find their purpose in any other relationship or activity, they are looking in the wrong place. Hebrews 9:27 warns us, “… people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.” (NIV) The entire purpose of our lives is to prepare to stand before God. Our lives on earth are very short in the scheme of eternity, but what we do with them will determine what will happen to us for eternity. In Psalm 144:3-4 David said this:
Lord, what are human beings that you care for them, mere mortals that you think of them? They are like a breath; their days are like a fleeting shadow. (NIV)
Our life here is just a breath. Take a moment to breathe in….. and exhale. That is how our life here will seem in eternity. Just a passing breath. The longer I’m alive, the more I realize how time really flies. We have little time to fulfill our purpose before we will stand before God for judgment.
We should focus all of our short time here on preparing for that moment. Some people comprehend this, and so they try very hard to live a life that is good enough. But that is a losing battle as no one can ever live a life which measures up to God’s standards. What a tragedy it would be to live our entire lives just trying to please God and then discover it was all in vain.
The good news is Jesus has already lived a perfect life, and by accepting Him as Lord and Savior we can stand before God and be judged on His merits. Therefore, Jesus is the only way we can reconnect to God, and to our purpose. In John 14:6 Jesus explicitly tells us, “… I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (NIV)
There is no reason for us to feel purposeless. We are children of the King of Kings; we are His Ambassadors. We don’t have to do anything to achieve that status. God adopted us, and therefore it is our purpose to represent Him. We need not accomplish a massive task to accomplish our mission. By allowing Jesus to live His life through us, we are fulfilling our purpose.