What Is My Purpose
GNLCC 7/22/12 Ecclesisastes 2:1-15 Ephesians 2:1-15
If I told you I could make you the richest, most famous, and wisest person in the world, would you be interested in my offer. But what if I told you, you could never use your money, your fame or your wisdom to help anyone that you truly loved or cared for, would you still be interested in my offer? The one thing that is lacking in the two situations is purpose. All the wealth, all the fame, and all the wisdom is of little value if they will not serve the purpose of what you need. A life without a purpose becomes a life without meaning.
We are in the final part of our series, “Getting Back On Track. We have looked at, “What Caught My Eye”, “How Did I Mess Up”, “How Do I Come Back”, and today “What is my purpose.” All of us are on a track running with our lives. As a matter of fact, the track is the decisions we make with our lives. All the tracks end at the same place, and that place is God. For the Scriptures tell us, it is appointed once for us to die and then comes the one on one, face to face appointment with God. All beliefs of all religions and of all atheist stop at the grave and then you check in with God to give an account of your life. The reason we are talking about getting back on track, is that there is an examination that is going to take place at the end of it all. There is a way that seems right to a person, but at the end of it is death.
God has already told us what is going to be covered at the exam in heaven. It will cover how we made choices to live our lives and whether we completed the purpose for which we were created. So it’s just not, did I make good choices, but did I do what God put me on this planet to do. When you got saved, God could have zapped you and taken you to heaven, before you had a chance to mess up, but God didn’t because there was something God still had for you to do. God had a purpose for creating you, and God had a purpose for saving you. If part 2 of the exam is “did I complete my purpose.”, then I ought to know what my purpose is so that I can be confident when I stand before God.
Suppose somebody was going to pay you big bucks for taking care of their garden for four months while they were on vacation. They gave you their address and paid you ½ up front and were going to pay you the other ½ at the end. Each day you went and took care of that garden and gave it your best attention. But, you also noticed that their neighbor’s garden was going downhill. At the end of the four months the garden you took care of looked great. But the neighbor’s garden had wilted away to nothing.
When the people came back, they demanded back their money. You said, but “why I did a great job”. They said, “come and see for yourself.” You know they are trying to rip you off so you get in your car and storm over there to get your money, after all your hard work. When you get there, you see them in front of the garden and it looks terrible. You had been taking care of their neighbor’s garden. How do you feel about it? Imagine feeling a 1,000 times worse than that when you discover before God, you’ve spent a lifetime on things that will not help you in the end. You dedicated your life to something that ultimately did not matter.
The Bible says this, in Eph. 2:20, “We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do”. The word workmanship means we were designed and molded by God for a purpose. We were made to make a contribution in life. God made us to make a difference. How we live is much more important than how long we live.
Many people, who have the greatest impact on this world do not live to see their fiftieth birthday. Is there anybody here who wants to live to be a 100 and look back over their lives and say, after 100 years, I still have not made a difference for anybody. We’re all meant to give something back. We’re all meant to make a contribution. The Bible says we’re created to serve, we’re saved to serve, we’re gifted to serve, we’re shaped to serve. We’re commanded to serve God in response.
God created us with a purpose in mind. Each one of us is uniquely gifted in five areas. They are our spiritual gifts, our hearts, our abilities, our personalities and our experiences. Each of us has a different mixture of those five things. They help us with our purpose. These things are all a part of our gift from God.
But I do want you to notice this, God made you unique and your uniqueness is not for your benefit. Too many people think that becoming a Christian is all about their personal happiness and desires. But we find in 1 Peter et. 4:10, “Each of us should use whatever gift he’s received to serve others.” Your purpose and my purpose in life is to be what God made us to be. And He gave you gifts and talents and abilities and background and experiences and all these things for the benefit of other people, to be used by serving others. Now that doesn’t seem like a lot of fun. Wouldn’t it be better if they were serving us.
It’s interesting that many in the church are looking for happiness, when God tells us to look for opportunities to serve. We were put here to serve God and the way we serve God is by serving other people. Now, some people want to serve God; they just don’t want to serve others. But you can’t do that. The only way you can serve God is by serving others. We need each other in order to serve each other.
Now the Bible has a word for serving others, it’s called “ministry”. When people here the word minister, what do they think of in their minds? A priest or a pastor? But the Bible says every believer is a minister. Now, not every believer is a pastor, but every believer is a minister. Ministry simply means using my gifts to help somebody else in the name of God. If you having been serving, you are a minister. We’ve got ministers in the nursery. On your job, they ought to call you minister Jackson, not because you preach, but because you serve
In the Bible the word “service” and “ministry” are the same word. And in the Bible “servant” and “minister” are the same word. So all of us are called to ministry. You were created for the purpose of doing good works. You don’t need a title to be involved in ministry. You simply need to be actively doing something for the cause of Christ.
Turn to the person next to you and say “You’re a minister”. But the truth is every Christian is a minister. Any time you use your talent to help somebody else, you are ministering. All women are ministers. All men are ministers. All little kids, all old people, if we’re believers, we’re all called to serve Jesus Christ.
Now the good news is that God not only created us for service, He gave us a model. He came to earth Himself and said “This is how you do it. I want you to watch Me”. And so he came to earth in the form of a man, Jesus Christ, and He said, “This is what I want you to do with your life”. You were created to be like Christ, and what did Christ do while He was here on earth? He served.
In Matt. 20:28, “Jesus said, ‘Your attitude must be like My own, for I did not come to be served, but to serve’.” Service is great, but it is your attitude that causes you to mature in Christ. Part of your purpose is to allow the attitude of Christ to dwell inside of your attitude. That attitude thing makes our purpose a real challenge. There are times when my attitude gets in the way of my serving the Lord. It doesn’t do a whole lot of good to have great ministry skills and a lousy attitude.
My attitude is a problem when I don’t get my way. I forget that Jesus said to give your life away in order to find it. That sounds too much like yielding even when I know I’m right. That means I can’t always have the last word. You mean if I want to have better relationships to others, I have to get stepped on every now and then. That’s still a lot easier than be crucified on a cross.
How do we go about serving and having the attitude of Jesus in every day life if that’s our purpose. What is it going to take to get ready for the test at the end .
Well it takes three things. First being on track means being available. It means being available to be used by God. One day Jesus was walking down to go to Jericho and some blind men start yelling at him. And the Bible says this (Matt. 20:30-32): “Two blind men shouted ‘Lord, have mercy on us! Jesus stopped and called them. ‘What do you want me to do for you?’.”
The first thing Jesus did after he heard the guys was something we all can do. “Jesus stopped. If you want to be used by God, if you want to serve God, you must be willing to be interrupted. Ministry involved interruptions. You and I must be willing to be interrupted. Most of Jesus’ ministry and most of Jesus’ miracles were interruptions. He didn’t place miracles in his appointment book. All the people he healed – the blind man, the lame man, the sick people, the paralyzed man, the dead child – all of them were interruptions. His first miracle? Interrupted at a wedding. He second miracle? Interrupted on the way to Galilee. It says, “Jesus stopped”. What happens to your attitude when you are interrupted.
To become like Jesus, we must be available. You must be willing to say, God what do You want me to do?” There are hurting people all around us, and the wounded will not wait. We’ve got to help them now. Now what keeps us from being available? You see a lot of us say “I’d like to be used by God. I’d like His power in my life. I’d like to serve God, but I’m just not available.” And what is it that keeps us from being available? Can we be honest for a moment.
We are too busy making sure that life is giving us what we want. Today we put earphones in our ears, look at our phones, and say to the world, I am not available at the moment, or the moment after that either. Whenever you see a need right in front of you, guess what? God is giving you the opportunity to practice serving. God is giving you the opportunity to learn to serve, to learn to be like Jesus Christ.
You see the number one enemy of compassion is busyness. We just get too busy! And because I’m so busy, I don’t have time to serve. I’ve got my agenda, my plans, my dreams, my goals, my ambitions. You know what the problem is? We hang this [Pastor holds up a “do not disturb sign”] on the door of our heart, “Do Not Disturb.” We do it all the time. We say, “do not disturb”. “Don’t disturb my heart. I’ve got my goals. I’ve got my safe little life going here, so don’t disturb me for the needs of other people.” How often have you put up the sign?
To become a real servant we have to be open to being interrupted. That’s real hard isn’t it. Your favorite show is coming on and your Mom asks you to do the dishes, or the church asks you to come out and help on a project, or your neighbor needs to go to the grocery store. You see, real servants don’t mind being interrupted. Has anybody’s self-centeredness gotten in the way of being a servant? Wouldn’t it be great if we could schedule in our service hours.
If we really have a servant heart, like Jesus Christ, we don’t mind being interrupted because our agenda is God’s agenda, and we get up in the morning and you say “OK, God, you want to bring somebody in my life today? Bring them in! Bring them on!” I say it again. Almost every miracle and almost every act of ministry Jesus did, He did when He was interrupted.
It would be great if we were willing to be interrupted right here church. If you were willing to be interrupted to speak to people and smile at them each Sunday whether your knew them or not, that would be a great ministry. It would also change your attitude toward others.
The other thing that knocks us off track with our service and attitude is materialism. We just have to have our things. Is there anybody here besides me that just keeps wanting some more things. Materialism is the third barrier that keeps us from being available to serve. Jesus said, “No servant can serve two masters. You cannot serve both God and money.” (Lk. 16:13). Now would you circle the word “cannot”? He didn’t say, “You should not serve both God and money.” He said, “You cannot serve both God and money.”
We all have to decide whether you want to be rich or you want to be blessed. Really! I’m telling you, we have to say, “What’s number one in priority in my life?” You cannot serve both God and money. It’s an impossibility. You see, you get so busy taking care of things; you don’t have time to take care of people. The more we have, the more we have of something telling us we can or cannot do. Ever had a transmission talk to you
The most important decision you’re going to have to make in life once you become a believer is, “Am I going to be a kingdom-builder or am I going to be a wealth-builder?” Now if God wants to give you wealth, that’s great. That’s wonderful, but it is not the number one goal of your life. Because the wealth you’re not taking with you to heaven, but your character your service, and your attitude will be making the trip.
So you say, “I’m going to be a kingdom-builder.” You put that first and let God take care of whatever He wants you to do. If your job is keeping you from having any kind of service, you need to make some kind of adjustment. Can you imagine saying to God one day, “Lord I was just too busy to serve you.” And God responds, “Too busy with what.” How will you answer that question? Serving means being available. We make ourselves available because we are grateful.
How many of us have one or two things we can be grateful for today? Is there anybody here with a reason to say thank you Lord.? One reason we serve God with gratefulness is because He’s given life to us through Jesus Christ. He saved us! And if He never did anything else for us, that is enough to be grateful for the rest of our lives to serve Him. Look at what the Bible has to say about that over in 2 Tim. 1:9: “It is He who saved us and chose us for His holy work, not because we deserved it, but because that was His plan.” He saved us, and out of the gratefulness of that, what He has done for us, we serve Him.
Our service does not have to involve competition. The person we are running against on the track of life is the person we are, and the person we could have been if we had made our purpose to follow after Jesus Christ. We run individual races, but collectively we are on the same team.
We are not competing with each other in the body of Christ or in the local church.
Competition with each other in service, it just doesn’t make sense when you come right down to it. When you think about it, we’re on the same team. We have the same goal of making Jesus known to the world. Unfortunately, we forget that Jesus said, what was going to impress the world was the way we loved each other. Ouch. No it’s not our great singing, but how does the group get along. It’s not our great ushering, but how do we encourage and support each other. It’s not the preaching, but how do we relate to each other. Somehow this thing is going to come back to our attitude in each situation.
Staying on the right track not only means serving with the right attitude, it also includes being faithful. Becoming like Jesus is becoming faithful. You do what you said you would do. You know that it times it’s going to be rough. Being faithful means you don’t give up. You keep on going. You don’t quit in the middle of your assignment. At the end of Jesus’ ministry on earth, Jesus said this in John 17:4, He said, “I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work,” “that You gave me to do.”
We want you to be able to say that when you get to heaven. You completed the work that God gave you to do. Jesus was faithful in fulfilling His service. He didn’t give up. He didn’t give in. He was persistent. And if you’re going to be like Jesus it means you’re going to serve as long as you’re alive. Now you may retire from your job someday, but you’re never retiring from ministry. You’re never retiring from service. Because God wants you to serve the rest of your life.
Now if you’re going to learn to be a servant of God, you must learn the difference between significance and prominence. They are not the same thing. On my body, my nose is quite prominent. But I could lose my nose and still live the rest of my life, because while it’s prominent, it’s not significant. On the other hand, if I lost, you know, my liver, or if I lost my heart, it’s not very prominent. You don’t see it. But if I lost it, I’d be dead. And a lot of people think that if something is given a lot of visibility, it’s the most important.
No, that’s not true. In fact the stuff behind the scenes is more important, God says. He says the parts of your body that you don’t see are more important than the parts you do see! And the same is true in the Body of Christ. It all matters. You see the fact is with our limited perspective, we can’t see how our small acts have big consequences, but they do!
We have no idea of the significance of small acts. Real servants do every task with equal dedication because they know it all matters. It doesn’t matter if you’re doing something important that is well known or if you’re doing something important that’s not well known. It’s all important. Don’t mistake anonymous with insignificant.
Don’t mistake anonymous with insignificant or even unnecessary. Just because it’s not known doesn’t mean it’s unnecessary. If you had to go to the bathroom, you’d be very thankful for the toilet paper sitting in there even though you don’t know who put it there, who ordered it, or who delivered it.
Our church needs you to be involved in ministry. There is something everybody can do. Your purpose isn’t it to run in here and run out on Sunday without making a difference for Christ. You were created to serve Christ with the right attitude.
**Some of the ideas in this message came from Rick Warren in his 40 Days Of Purpose”. The Purpose of Ministry.