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Summary: I heard someone say once that the definition of “luck” was “preparation meeting opportunity.”

I heard someone say once that the definition of “luck” was “preparation meeting opportunity.” The point the speaker was making was that those people we consider “lucky,” having fallen into some overnight success, are really people who quietly and diligently prepared for an opportunity they believed would one day come. Because of their preparation, they were ready to take advantage of opportunity when it arrived.

For the last six weeks we’ve been discussing several aspects of recognizing and understanding your unique God given purpose; that special thing you we’re created to accomplish in God’s plan for mankind.

By now you know that you’ve been built for the unique purpose God has planned for you; it’s in your DNA. Your life experience and circumstance, the path you’ve traveled, has been leading you to and preparing you for your purpose.

You’ve learned that in order to take on your role in His purpose, you have to relinquish control of the steering wheel. In order make your life matter eternally, you have to be willing to surrender your own say-so about where your life is going right now.

You’ve learned that your purpose and your behavior are two different things. What’s required of you every day isn’t so unique; it’s required of each of us. And you can’t be on purpose and off behavior at the same time. You can’t disobey the rules that were set out for all of us and expect to successfully follow the unique purpose the Rule Maker has laid out specifically for you.

You’ve learned that you can’t follow the Leader without ever talking to Him or listening to Him. The One who gave you purpose expects relationship. Without it you’ll never be able to stay on the path; because He’s the one leading you.

Last week you learned about obedience and the difference between little “o” and big “O”. Little “o” is behavior; acting the way you know you’re supposed to act. Big “O” is obedience when He’s given you a task. Here’s the secret: the “task” is your purpose. The big thing you’ve been looking for. The thing we’ve been talking about all this time!

You can have one big task in your lifetime that defines the reason God put you on this earth or you may have been given a lot of little tasks that together define why He put you here.

People have a tendency to always be looking for the “big task,” the big reason that will define their purpose. Too often we romanticize or glorify the “big task” and ignore or downplay the little tasks. But little tasks add up.

*****

Almost sixty years ago, in the city of Calcutta, a little Albanian nun gave a starving child a bit of rice. She had no resources; undoubtedly the rice she gave away was meant for her own nourishment. The act went unnoticed by the world (not by the child).

The city they were living in was gripped by famine; millions of people were starving. The poorest of the poor, like this child, had no hope at all. There was no chance for their survival. What good would it do to give this one child one bit of rice? It wouldn’t stop the poverty in the city; this child and more like her would soon succumb to death by starvation and disease. One tiny act of mercy couldn’t possibly make a difference.

The little nun had no means of support. Many times she was reduced to begging for food and supplies to feed and care for those hopeless, dying souls around her. She was overwhelmed, but she kept moving; one child, one leper, one terminally ill patient at a time.

I doubt if she had the “big task” in mind. She was just doing as she was told, one little act of mercy at a time. If you asked her, the reason she was living on the street with the sick and starving was simple. “I was to leave the convent and help the poor while living among them. It was an order. To fail would have been to break the faith.” God had spoken to her, had given her a task; it was the big “O”.

When she said yes to the big “O” it was with a “little task”; an act of mercy so small no one else noticed. But she was faithful to her purpose with another small act of mercy and another and another.

The first year was miserable. She actually became one of the starving and destitute she had come to comfort. But she survived.

Little by little, over forty years, workers came to join her and others donated money to help her with her mission. When her task was over it was evident to the world that Mother Theresa had been singled out by God for a very special purpose. By the time she had finished the purpose she had been given, 4,000 sisters, 300 brothers and over 100,000 lay volunteers had joined her, working in 610 missions in 123 countries.

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