Have you ever been in one of those melancholy or depressed moods and wondered why God made you? Jesus gave us the easy answer when he said the greatest commandment is to love God and love our neighbor like ourselves. In other words we are here to be in relationship with our creator and with each other. In the big picture that’s great, but I want to talk about what that looks like every day, especially those days when we’re just not feeling it.
Last week I had a couple really good reminders about why God made me and what I’m doing here. I was in a meeting with a large group, discussing a veterans’ transition facility with which I am involved. The leader of the group asked each person to introduce themselves and say a few things about why they are involved. I always use my time in these situations to drive home a message that God has placed within me.
I was one of the last to speak so I told the group who I was, a little about my professional background, and then hit them with the message: “I am here to change lives for God.” I told the group that no matter what their profession our real purpose is changing lives – people who are struggling need to know the hope we have and to know they don’t have to live this way. We’re here to change lives.
I feel badly for many in the room who have heard that speech from me several times now. But there are always new people in the room to whom the message is new. One of the people who was in the room that day is someone I had met several months earlier but had not seen in quite a while. The next day I received a Facebook message from her in which she thanked me for my “sermon” reminding her that what she does is a ministry not a job – something she says she needed to hear to regain her focus and perspective. God is good!
Later that day I ran into a woman who I had met not too many weeks after her son had died. As our eyes met she had this big smile on her face and began telling me how great she was doing, how God had put another person in her life that had given her great advice and hope, and how my initial contact and talks with her were uplifting as well. God is good!
Why are we here? We are here to minister to one another.
You are not an accident. You did not get placed on this Earth by the Father to sit around in your underwear, eat Cheetos, and watch soap operas or sports. God has gifted you with innate abilities and given you the ability to learn other skills which He expects you to use for the benefit of others. Your life – professional and personal – is a ministry and if you’re not engaged in that ministry you are wasting the gifts God has given you.
Let me let you in on a little secret. You know how a lot of folks – maybe you, too – feel unfulfilled? They’re always looking for that thing that will fill that hole in their life. For some they search out job titles and money. For others they search out pleasure and possession. But no matter how successful they are they are never satisfied. There’s a reason.
You will not be satisfied and fulfilled until you are doing the thing that God created you to do. And when you figure that out you will have more joy in your life than you can imagine!
Not only do I know this personally, but the wisest guy who ever lived told us this thousands of years ago. In the book of Ecclesiastes King Solomon – King David’s son – writes about how he tried everything under the sun to find happiness and fulfillment. He built cities; he owned thousands of horses and chariots; he had wives and concubines by the hundreds; he had wealth beyond imagination; he had kings come to him for wisdom; in short he had it all. Yet he was miserable. At the end of his book he tells readers that he wasted his life and he finally learned that the only thing that matters is the fear of the Lord. In other words, the only thing that matters is revering God and doing what He created you to do.
I lived most my life like King Solomon. I sought the brass ring professionally, taking pride in my titles, position, authority, and pay. I was the life of the party anywhere I went. I accumulated stuff just to have it. I didn’t understand my purpose until I fully submitted myself to God when I was 40 years old. In essence I had been walking in the desert for 40 years!
Today my life is much different. I understand my purpose in life. I know that I am to live not for myself but for God and others. My job is to minister to those around me using the gifts and skills God has given me. And that, my friends, is fulfillment!
I’m not telling you to quit your job and go to seminary. But I am telling you that no matter what you do for a living or in your personal life you can make a difference for God’s kingdom. If you’re interested do this little exercise to find out what God created you for:
Take a piece of paper and make three columns. In the first column list the things that you do that come naturally to you. In the second column list the things that you do that you’ve learned to do through school or experience. In the third column list how those things in the first and second column could be used to change someone’s life. THEN GO DO IT!
I’ll pray that the Holy Spirit reveals your purpose to you as you do this exercise. It changed my life when I did it so I suspect it can change yours, too.