Discovering Purpose Beyond Yourself

I recently came across an old Calvin and Hobbes cartoon that went like this.

Calvin: I’m at peace with the world and I’m completely serene.

Hobbes: Why is that?

Calvin: Because I’ve discovered my purpose in life. I know why I was put here and why everything exists.

Hobbes: Oh, really?

Calvin: Yes, I am here so everybody can do what I want.

Hobbes: It’s nice to have that cleared up.

Calvin: Yes, and once everybody accepts it, they’ll be serene too!

The comic’s author, Bill Watterson, who ended the cartoon’s 25 year run in 2020, often exaggerated his points for “comedic effect.” We chuckle a bit at the silliness and absurdity of thinking that I exist so everyone can serve me and cater to my whims and wants. Yet, the uncomfortable truth is that in reality we may often portray that attitude in our relationships.

In “What Every Family Needs” Paul Faulkner says the problem in many families is “too much me and not enough we.” In the very first sentence he opines, “Selfishness is the greatest single enemy of a happy marriage.” Then adds, “Selfishness is the root of all other sins.”

Faulkner’s observation is not only accurate in the home, but also the church family, as well as our vocation and social interactions.

In his book, The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren writes, “You were put on earth to make a contribution.”

“You weren’t created,” Warren explains, “just to consume resources–to eat, breathe, and take up space. God designed you to make a difference with your life. While many best selling books offer advice on how to get the most out of life, that’s not the reason God made you. You were created to add to life on earth, not just take from it. God wants you give something back.”

In this regard, the apostle Paul penned, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Eph. 2:10).

Jesus exemplified servanthood in his ministry and mission as He affirmed, “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:28).

Family life is better when we subjugate our selfish desires and mutually meet one another’s needs with love, honor, and respect (Eph. 5:22-32; 1Cor, 7:1-5; 1Pet. 3:7).

Our Church-Family will function as a encouraging and edifying fellowship when we “serve one another in love” (Gal. 5:13).

Our social relationships will be greatly enhanced when we apply Paul’s admonition–-”Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Phil. 2:4).

Society will be elevated when we seek ‘to do good to all people” (Gal.6:10), and especially have a heart “for the least of these” (Matt. 25:40), who are sick, suffering, poor and disenfranchised.

This attitude is founded and grounded in a selfless spirit that dethrones self and enthrones God. It calls on us to humble ourselves, rejecting the “pride of life,” and seeking a life of service.

In the words of George Bernard Shaw, let us not become “a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world will not devote itself to making {us} happy.”

Instead let us embrace God’s purpose in selfless service, discover our giftedness, and use our resources to make a difference, both in time and in eternity.

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman


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One response to “Discovering Purpose Beyond Yourself

  1. Pingback: Weekly Recap: April 3-7 | ThePreachersWord

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