Summary: Part 5 in series The Purpose-Driven Life, this message looks at Ministry, the fourth of God’s five principal purposes for our lives.
Shaped for Serving God
The Purpose-Driven Life, part 5
Wildwind Community Church
David K. Flowers
November 11, 2007
In spite of enormous success, Elvis Presley was, according to friends, an unfulfilled and unhappy man. He died of obesity and drug dependency at 42. And in an interview with his wife, Priscilla, she said this about her husband: “Elvis never came to terms with who he was meant to be or what his purpose in life was. He thought he was here for a reason, maybe to preach, maybe to serve, maybe to save, maybe to care for people. That agonizing desire was always with him and he knew he wasn’t fulfilling it. So he’d go on stage and he wouldn’t have to think about it.” Elvis didn’t have a clue where to begin to look. In a sense, he was lost.
Today we’re continuing our 40 Days of Purpose, and we’re going to look at God’s fourth purpose for your life, that you were Shaped to Serve God. I don’t want you to make Elvis’s mistake. Elvis felt like he was here to do something; to serve, to preach, to save…to do something with his life, but he just couldn’t quite figure it out. I want to help you piece it together today. Would you read this with me?
Ephesians 2:10 (NIV)
(10) For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
You are God’s workmanship – a product of God’s work. And he created you for a specific purpose. We have already discovered you were created for worship, fellowship, and discipleship. And right here you see that you are created to do good works – in other words, you were created to serve. You were created to serve. You were wired up for it. A squirrel not collecting nuts isn’t functioning like a squirrel, there’s something wrong with it. A dog that doesn’t walk on four legs isn’t functioning like a dog, there’s something wrong with it. A fish that doesn’t swim isn’t functioning like a fish, there’s something wrong with it. And a human being that doesn’t serve isn’t functioning like a human being, there’s something wrong with him or with her.
Pastors sometimes wonder, “Man, why can’t we get people involved in serving?” But I don’t wonder that. I don’t wonder why practically every church struggles for workers. The reason is simple. The church struggles for workers because people don’t understand they were created to serve. Let’s be honest – it’s not like that’s the only one of God’s five purposes for our lives that we don’t understand! People do not understand that they were created to worship God and love him. And since they do not understand that they were created to love God, they do not understand that they were also created to love the people God loves – for fellowship. And since they do not understand that they were created to love God and love God’s children, they do not understand they were also created to become more and more like Jesus – God’s dearly loved Son. And since people don’t understand that they were created to love God and love God’s children and become more like Jesus, they quite naturally do not understand that they were created to serve alongside God’s children in the church -- to give their lives in service to others like Jesus did. That’s why the church’s ministries always lack workers.
But it’s my job to tell you God’s purposes for your life and then to call you to live into those purposes. You know one of our main problems in the church is that we are educated so far beyond the level of our obedience. A few times lately it has occurred to me that a new calendar year is beginning and if I preach a three point sermon on each of the Sundays in that first month, then you will finish January having heard 12 points to apply to your life. And my guess is that you could take one of those points and work on applying it for a whole month so that those twelve points could easily take you a year to actually implement in your life. And my question to you is this: if it could easily take 12 months to apply the points you heard in January, why have any sermons the rest of the year? It’s just gonna be more stuff that you hear but are not capable of working into your life and implementing. Stuff that carries with it the danger of becoming something you know and so are responsible to God for, but that you are not actually doing. In that sense, all you know actually becomes a liability. Why do I mention this now? Because I do not want the Purpose-Driven Life to be a liability, because these are God’s five purposes for your life. Some of you heard me explain a few weeks ago why small groups are a critical part of fellowship but still have not joined a group. I want to sincerely ask you this question. Why? Is it just a schedule thing so that you really can’t? I realize not everybody actually can. Is that it, or are there just not really any plans to move forward in this essential purpose for your life? Have you become comfortable hearing sermons about what God has for your life and nodding your head and then just walking out of here and ignoring it? What about discipleship? God’s purpose is for us to be like Jesus. We hear that and nod our heads in church, but many of us don’t put effort into overcoming things in our lives that are keeping that from happening. What about worship? We hear in church that it’s not about me it’s about loving God, but then so many are functional agnostics the rest of the week – not praying, not reading God’s word, not subjecting their decisions to the scrutiny of life in Christ. Is this you? If it is, what’s the date when that’s going to change? On what date are you going to hear a message about loving God and walk out of here having decided to love him? On what date will you hear about fellowship and small group, and contact Brent and get into a group and move into that purpose for your life? On what date will you hear about discipleship and get to some serious work on those areas in your life that are keeping you from being like Jesus? When?