Last night Norma Jean and I worshiped with the Temple Terrace Church and heard a fine lesson presented by Nathan Caldwell.
Nathan is from Wainfleet, Ontario, Canada, where we spent the summer and enjoyed our association with his parents, Rob and Sharon Caldwell. He preaches “part-time,” as we often express it, and does a good job.
His sermon was entitled “Our Purpose in Life” and focused on the human need to find fulfillment.
As Nathan observed, through the years people have sought personal fulfillment in a variety of means. Fulfillment is often pursued through our professions, or material possessions.
Some find fulfillment in achieving a certain status through education, position or their social circle.
The need for fulfillment is achieved for many people in their relationships–family, friends, and associations that provide enjoyment.
And then there are those engage in a personal exploration of “finding themselves” in their quest for fulfillment.
The problem of our narcissistic world was well expressed by the evangelical author, Erwin W. Lutzer, in his book “How in this World Can I be Holy?” “Whenever we are faced with a crucial decision, our generation has been taught to ask, What’s in it for me? Will it give me pleasure? Profit? Security? Fulfillment?”
Interestingly, Nathan observed that Social Scientists and Human Behavior experts are discovering that long-term, deep-rooted and substantive fulfillment is found in serving the needs of others. A concept taught in God’s Word. And at the core of Christianity.
God created us with desires and emotional needs that seek fulfillment. Yet, they must be satisfied within the scope of His Will and Word if we want to realize Jesus’ promise. “I came to give life–life in all it’s fullness” (Jn 10:10) A full, satisfying, richly abundant life is attained when we seriously obey the two great commandments–love God with all of our heart, soul, and mind. And love our neighbor as ourselves (Matt 22:37-40).
Love for others is expressed through thinking of others instead of focusing on our selfish desires.
The Bible exhorts, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others” (Phil 2:3-4).
This scriptural concept that can be summed up in these simple, single words. Giving. Sharing. Serving.
The irony and wonderful serendipity of life is that when we sincerely serve the needs of our fellow-man without any thought of what we get in return, we find personal fulfillment and often receive more than we gave. As Francis of Assisi said, “For it is in giving that we receive.” Or as Winston Churchill expressed it, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”
Rotary International, a century-old service organization, has promoted this idea with their original motto “He profits most who serves best.” And more recently the simple slogan “Service above self.”
Yet, it was Jesus Christ who centuries prior to that proclaimed, “But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Matt 23:11-12).
The Bible letters from the apostles often encourage us to minister to the needs of others with various exhortations.
“Through love serve one another” (Gal. 5:13).
“As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God” (1 Pet. 4:10).
“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers” (Gal. 6:10).
When we each discover our own special gift, then cheerfully minister to the needs of others, we will discover our true purpose in life, and experience true happiness, feel inner peace, and find personal fulfillment.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman