Summary: We all need to discern God’s purpose for our lives.

INTRO.- Eph. 5:17 “Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.” We all need to understand the Lord’s will or the Lord’s purpose for our lives. If we claim to believe in God the creator and Christ the Savior we must seek to understand their will/purpose for our lives.

ILL.- You have perhaps heard the story about the man from the back mountains of Tennessee who found himself one day in a large city, for the first time standing outside an elevator in a fancy hotel. He watched as an old, haggard woman hobbled into the elevator and the doors closed. A few minutes later the doors opened and a young, beautiful woman walked out. The father hollered to his youngest son, "Hey Billy, go get your mama.”

Often our purpose in life centers around the things this world values most: youthfulness, beauty, extreme makeovers, having fun, money, material things, etc.

ILL.- I saw part of an interview last Sunday morning by Dan Rather with country singer Dolly Parton. He said, “God made you pretty.” Dolly replied, “Yeah, but I helped Him.”

Dolly admits to having some work done to her features. She said, "I’ve had lots of work done. I’ll have some more done when I need it. I always said, ’If I see something sagging, bagging and dragging, I’m going to nip it, tuck it, and suck it.’ Whatever needs to be done. I mean, it’s like I look at myself like a show horse, or a show dog. I mean, I’m in the business. And, I like to look a certain way.”

I read more about Dolly’s life and here is what the article stated. She has never been into drugs or alcohol. And, she’s been married for about 38 years. Dolly met her husband, Carl Dean, a construction worker, outside the Wishy-Washy Laundromat the day she hit Nashville in 1964. They never had children, but they’re all the company each other needs.

"He’s proud of me," she says. "He doesn’t care what I do, and he knows I’m always coming home. He knows I love him, and he loves me. But he’s a loner. He don’t want to be with anyone but me, so that works out just fine."

Besides her husband, the other solid rock in Dolly Parton’s life is her personal relationship with God. At least, this is what she says. If this is true, then praise the Lord. She says that she believe that God is with her.

She said, “"Remember that old scripture, ’Pray without ceasing’?" she asks. "I just think that means to keep that inner glow, keep that feeling, that God light, inside you and hold onto that. It’s, like, when people say, ’Oh, how can you talk about being religious, you look like a whore.’ You know, maybe I do, but I don’t feel like one. And I don’t believe God thinks I’m one."

To most of us, Dolly’s spiritual life seems somewhat lacking. To pray without ceasing is more than just thinking that God is inside you. It is actually talking to Him every day and even every hour of the day. And, of course, she said nothing about any church affiliation, church attendance or devotional life. She also said nothing about the Lord Jesus.

Some day, if Dolly’s relationship with the Lord doesn’t grow she will find herself on the short end of the stick, because as we know, there is only so much that money can buy! Money cannot buy back youthfulness nor can it buy eternal happiness. Without the Lord there will always be a void in people’s lives. This is the way God created us.

ILL.- I read that Oprah Winfrey had a show on the meaning of life awhile back. At every break in the show she would say, “Now, come back because we’re going to tell you your purpose.” But by the end of the program she was no closer to discovering life’s purpose than she was at the beginning. Finally, as the credits at the end of the show were rolling, she looked squarely into the camera and said, “Remember, you’ve got to figure it out by yourself.” What a let down.

Overall, the purpose of life for most people is world-centered, here and now centered, material and money centered, play and pleasure centered, etc. And without the Lord in our lives there will always be a void, a dullness, a lack, a lifelessness.

ILL.- Bertrand Russell was born into a Christian home and taught to believe in God, but he rejected his training and became an outspoken atheist. His daughter, Katherine Tait, said of him, "Somewhere at the bottom of his heart, in the depths of his soul, there was an empty space that once had been filled by God, and he never found anything else to put in it."

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