Purpose; November 29, 2020


Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

I couldn’t begin to count all the people I’ve dealt with who have worried over what their purpose was in life. Rick Warren famously wrote The Purpose Driven Life, and that has helped a lot of people. The most basic fact is that we were indeed created for a purpose, and when we have that awareness, all sorts of thing fall into place. One issue is that we often confuse purpose and goal, and once we achieve a major goal we feel we have no more purpose. That is often true for young people, who drive toward the goal of getting into a school of their choice and then graduating from it, but once they have done that they have no idea what to do. Paul clears that all up by pointing out that we didn’t create ourselves, and that our Maker didn’t bring us into the world on a casual whim; He had a purpose for each individual. Our most basic purpose is to be God’s children, living in fellowship with Him, but that can seem too general, too vague, for a lot of people. Paul says explicitly that God has work for us to do, and He already has our jobs laid out. One thing we need to remember is that those jobs aren’t necessarily “done and over,” something to be checked off. The NIV says “do good works,” but the Japanese says “walk in good works.” In other words, it is a continuing process. If we understand that, a lot of our tension about what we’re “getting done” should go away. As more than one philosopher has said, it isn’t the destination, it’s the journey. God indeed gives us specific tasks along the way, and getting them done can feel very good indeed, but any specific task is never the end of the story. We should always be looking forward to the next task in the process of becoming like our Lord Jesus. (Romans 8:29)

I don’t think I’ve ever been a “type A personality,” but it still makes a big difference to me to have a sense of purpose. With our younger daughter here for a visit, I’m very aware of the blessing children are to parents, whether either are aware of it or not. This daughter describes herself as “type A,” and feels driven to accomplish things. Coupled with an abundant skill set, that has made her very successful. Thankfully, she also recognizes that her most fundamental purpose is intimacy with God, and she makes that a high priority. She can make me feel lazy by comparison! At the same time, I am very aware that God has different “works” prepared for each person, and taking another person’s tasks on yourself (without God’s direction) is a terrible mistake. I am at an age where most people retire, but I am very aware that the fact I am still on this earth in this body means that God still has things for me to do. I’m to be active in my obedience, whatever that may mean, until He calls me home. That is purpose enough, and as He has told me, I’m to rest, relax, and rejoice in that awareness.

Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You for what You enabled me to do yesterday, and for the first 8 hour night’s sleep in quite a while. I ask Your guidance and anointing for every moment of today, that I may recognize what You have for me to do and do it with joy, in Your strength for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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