Summary: Learn about your life’s mission and then do it!
(Power Point presentation and audience outline available for $10 Contribution to my church’s worship fund and to cover shipping)
"Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! It is amazing to think about. Your workmanship is marvelous... You were there while I was being formed... You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe." Psalm 139:14-16 (LB)
"Your hands formed and shaped me..." Job 10:8a (GN)
God has been molding and shaping you for ministry since you were born. In fact, God started uniquely shaping you even before you were born. So if God has been molding you for his purposes, what does it take to be used by God? I’m addressing part 2 of that question today.
((This jellyfsh and salmon illustration was borrowed from another Sermon Central contributor, Joel Smith)
This will sound like a strange question to start off with, but let me ask you: Are you more like a salmon or a jellyfish? Okay maybe you don’t know much about them. I’ll describe each one and then you can decide.
Salmon begin their lives in the fresh water rivers of the frigid Northwest. Not long after they’re born they begin a long swim down stream. Their destination is the ocean. It is here that they spend the majority of their adult lives. Then something strange happens. Scientists don’t even understand how, but at some point the adult salmon begins to swim back home. Though they may have swum thousands of miles from that original river location they head back home. That’s right! They swim upstream, against the current of the river. You’ve probably seen nature programs on TV that show them leaping out of the water to overcome waterfalls and other barriers impeding their progress. They face predators like bears and people.
Incredibly, though they’ve been gone for years many of them return to the exact spot where they were born. I saw a documentary on one determined salmon that even swam through a maze of pipes and nudged open a grate to re-enter the hatchery where it was born. After an incredible effort the fish spawn and then die. The new salmon are soon born and repeat the process.
Does that describe you? Does your life have a destination? Are you going in a specific direction and are you willing to face all the obstacles to get there? If so, you’re like the salmon.
Then there’s the jellyfish. There are numerous species of these yucky-looking little creatures. Some of them are tiny. Others have tentacles that can be measured in feet. Jellyfish are born in the ocean and die there too. They have limited movement, but never really use that ability to go in any particular destination. They’re moved along primary by the wind and waves and tides. They drift about stinging and surviving. Occasionally one will wash up on the beach and, if you’re not careful, you’ll step on it and mess up your vacation.
Are you more like a jellyfish than a salmon?--- You just kind of float from here to there. You’re carried by circumstances or other people’s plans, but you really have no particular destination of your own.
The difference between salmon and jellyfish is the same as the difference between people. Some have a direction. Most just drift.
The problem with that kind of life is that you don’t accomplish anything of significance. You reach your final days, scratch your head and ask, What was it all for anyway?¨ Jellyfish people never find nor fulfill the reason for which they were created.
Then there are those who have direction. They can look back with satisfaction because they discovered their life’s purpose and went full force in that direction. That kind of living is one of the secrets of success. Successful people find and embark on their life’s purpose.
Two weeks ago when I began this two-part message on “How to Be Used By God”. I pointed out two very important truths.
One, God has a mission for each of us in life. God has never created a person that He didn’t have a personal life mission for. Jesus said in John 17:18 “In the same way you gave Me a mission in the world I give them a mission in the world.”
The second thing I pointed out is that part of your life mission (not all of it but part) is pointing other people to Jesus Christ. Once you become a believer God wants you to pass it on. You heard about Christ because somebody evidently got the message to you somehow so it’s your job to pass it on. Paul says in Romans 1:9 “I serve God by spreading the Good News about His Son.”
Those who are salmon people---they are the people who have discovered their life mission and share their faith with others. Mission oriented people are Successful people who find and embark on their life’s purpose. They learn the secret of being used by God.