Summary: Book sermon from Mark. Jesus' mission on earth was one of careful planning and execution and a life given over to Him ought to reflect the same care and effort.
I saw a picture of little twins the other day. They both were wearing red T-shirts. One said, “I was planned!” The other one said, “I was a surprise!” I wondered – how could they tell which one was the surprise?
I have news for you – whether you were planned or not, God says you were still “on purpose”! Your life has purpose! But too many people are living life like their existence has no purpose.
There are people convinced that everything that exists is here by random chance. That means you and I are the result of the happy collision of random atoms that ultimately arranged themselves into proteins and cells and tissues and organs and organisms and entire ecosystems. Under that arrangement, your purpose for existence, and mine, is on the very same level as that of a cockroach or a cloud. And everything that happens to us, and everything we do, carries the same meaning, or non-meaning.
Then, there are others who think life’s purpose is found in some kind of altruistic or important-sounding cause – save the whales or snails or lobsters; stop the use of Styrofoam cups, or bottled water, or microwaves.
So, you grow up, you get up in the morning, you go to school, you graduate, you get a job, maybe a family, and you still get up in the morning, and you go to work or whatever – maybe you even buy some stuff, and you grow old, and you continue to get up in the morning, until you can’t anymore, and then you’re gone, just like 10 billion people before you.
Let me say this: one of the greater features about life in Jesus is that it recognizes life has purpose. God made us for a purpose, and we get up in the morning with purpose and there is, underneath everything we do, a purpose to do it.
The times we’re living in require that we occasionally step back and review life’s purpose, especially as the situations around us grow increasingly hostile toward followers of Jesus worldwide. That’s probably the kind of situation Mark was considering as he compiled his account of the work of Jesus. Most likely, it was written in Rome, during the early stages of hostility against the Church. What did Christians in Rome need when it came to not giving up their faith in Jesus, and not letting their lives be thrown off track? The answer can be found in the gospel according to Mark. I think it gave them a quick and important reminder of what their lives and their commitments where all about. When early Christians asked themselves, “Hey, why are we going against our culture? Why do we refuse to worship the gods of most of the people around us? Why do we refuse to run after self-satisfaction and indulgence? Why should we take stands against immorality that will cost us everything we own, maybe even our lives?” the answer was, “Because you have been called to live your lives on purpose – a purpose that comes from God and that points you beyond those things – a purpose you can see in the life of Jesus Christ.”