“What our deepest self craves,” wrote Henry J. Golding, is not mere enjoyment, but some supreme purpose that will enlist all our powers and will give us unity and direction to our life.”
The key word in that quote is “purpose.” It is a word that seems to be more and more at the forefront of my mind.
Currently, Norma Jean and I are in Madrid, Iowa, for a month working with the brethren, these fine elders and their young preacher, Stefan Richardson. In addition to preaching once every Sunday, I’m teaching a class “Parenting with Purpose.” The concept behind the studies is to be, as Dr. Paul Faulkner puts it “an intentional parent.”
Intentional parenting establishes priorities in one’s family. A purpose-driven parent understands some things are more important than others. And nothing is as important as raising our children in “the training and admonition of the Lord (Eph. 6:4).
Purpose drives, directs and dictates our decisions. In every area and aspect of life. Socially. Vocationally. Financially. Relationally. And spiritually.
Having a noble purpose is what provides significance in life. C. H. Parkhurst was right when he wrote, “Purpose is what gives life meaning.” And the ultimate meaning and purpose in life is found in loving, obeying and serving God.
In today’s Bible reading, this verse jumped out at me. “For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid with his fathers and saw corruption.” (Ax 13:36).
Whether in parenting, pursuing our professing, or practicing our religious beliefs, it is well to remember that God has a purpose for us. Three times in Ephesians 1, Paul reminds us that God’s purpose for us was predestinated in Jesus Christ. Salvation is in Jesus. Spiritual blessings are in Jesus. Our eternal inheritance is predicated on knowing Jesus and growing in our relationship with Him.
Knowing our true purpose in life reduces frustration. Increases motivation. And allows for greater consecration. It simplifies one’s life. And helps keep our eyes on the goal ahead. The ancient Roman philosopher Seneca expressed it this way, “When a man does not know what harbor he is making for, no wind is the right wind.”
Luke offers some simple, yet profound insights into purpose from David’s life. First, the only time you have is now. Today. Your generation. I’ve heard folks say, “I was born too late.” Or “I should have lived in an earlier time.” No. That’s ridiculous. God put you here today to serve your generation. Your friends. Family. Neighbors. And brethren.
Secondly, unless you build the purpose of your life around God, life is ultimately pointless. Isaac Asimov, A prolific science fiction writer, once opined “As far as I can see there is no purpose to life.”
Psychiatrist Karl Jung got a little closer when he said, “I don’t know what the meaning or purpose of life is, but it looks as if there were something meant by it.”
But the philosopher and famous atheist, Bertrand Russell hit the nail on the head when he admitted, “Unless you assume a god, the question about life’s purpose is meaningless.”
Without God and His eternal purpose, life loses its vigor and vitality. It’s voyage can actually become depressing. And leave us empty and dispirited.
Thirdly, like David, we are all going to die. You’re not going to get out of this world alive! Death is inevitable. Then what?
God’s purpose dispels doubt. Supplies power when I feel weak. Strengthens my faith. Makes suffering meaningful, not just bearable. And purpose provides hope beyond the grave.
“There are two great days in a person’s life,” observed William Barclay, “the day we are born and the day we discover why.”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman