Do you get bogged down by your problems and forget your purpose? I know I do! There is power in remembering our purpose…
One day, right at 20 years ago, I was driving a beat-up old Peugeot up a winding hill in Nairobi, having a conversation with Henry Blackaby, the author of Experiencing God. The memory sticks in my mind for several reasons.
First, I was driving through one of my favorite parts of Nairobi. It’s leafy and green and peaceful enough to help you forget that you live in a sprawling city of millions for just a few minutes. Also, at certain times of year, the valley between the hills is filled with a blanket of purple jacaranda blossoms. The scene is stunning and so beautiful it doesn’t seem real.
Second, it’s one of my last memories of living in Nairobi. My time there was winding down just like that road. And, like the turn near the top of one of those hills, I couldn’t see around the corner and had no idea what was coming next.
Enter Henry Blackaby.
If you don’t know who he is, let me just say that he was a humble man with a huge influence. His Bible Study Experiencing God had the subtitle “Knowing and Doing the Will of God” so when he asked me what I thought God’s will for me in the next part of my life was, I sat up a little straighter behind my steering wheel and thought pretty hard before answering.
It felt a like a test I really wanted to pass.
My friends in the backseat answered more quickly than I did. One was going to seminary with hopes of returning to the mission field after; another was heading straight to another assignment. I, on the other hand, had no plans past a plane ticket.
“Where is God leading you next?” he asked.
I swallowed and gave the only answer I knew. “I don’t know, but I’m learning that God’s will for me is not so much about a place, as it is about a purpose. I believe he wants me to know him and make him known….”
Uncle Henry (a familial nickname the young missionaries and missionary kids I worked with around the world used for him and others who were leaders in our organization) nodded and said, “I can’t argue with that.”
I let out the breath I had been holding (because I always liked to pass tests, you know) and turned a little more confidently toward the future, knowing I may not have had a place, but I had a purpose.
The memory of that conversation flooded my mind yesterday in church as my pastor preached a sermon about spiritual blindness because he said THOSE EXACT SAME WORDS.
“Your purpose is to know him and make him known.”
The words hit me somewhere between a loving nudge and a slap upside the back of my head.
Because I have been feeling like I have no purpose lately.
Oh, I have tasks to complete, problems to solve and places to go.
It’s been a vague blob on the horizon of my life lately. I know it’s there, but I haven’t been able to make out its form. Like a mirage in the desert, just when I think I can get close enough to see it clearly, it disappears, leaving me lost and still struggling to survive.
Because day-to-day survival has been my mode of operation for almost two years now.
Make breakfast, make lunch, do dishes, cook supper, help with homework, drive to doctors, sweep floors, cook more…
You get the idea because your life probably looks a lot like mine.
We get bogged down and start to think our problems are our purpose.
But they aren’t, ya’ll.
And, there is power in remembering our purpose.
I need that reminder today. Every day, actually. Without it, I forget that I am meant to be a “living sacrifice” (Romans 12:1) and that offering my life to him daily is an act of worship that goes beyond singing songs, taking my talk to the trenches where the smoke fills my lungs, stings my eyes and changes me forever.
When knowing God and making him known remains the purpose of our lives, we can obey the words of James Chapter 1, which says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:2-4)
That’s the impact of knowing him. Like Paul, we can rejoice in all things and find peace. (Philippians 4:4-7)
And, when we do? We make him known. We can’t help ourselves. After all, a life lived knowing him results in a life lived showing him.A life lived knowing him results in a life lived showing him.Click To Tweet
“Thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere.” (2 Corinthians 2:14)