Summary: We Christians know who we are and why we are here and where we are going. God has given us both general purposes and specific purposes to live for.
A. One of golf’s immortal moments came when a Scotsman demonstrated the new game of golf to President Ulysses Grant.
1. Carefully placing the ball on the tee, the Scotsman took a mighty swing.
2. The club hit the ground and scattered dirt all over the President’s beard, while the ball sat waiting on the tee.
3. Again the Scotsman swung, and again he missed.
4. Our President waited patiently through six tries and then quietly stated, “There seems to be a fair amount of exercise in this game, but I fail to see the purpose of the ball.”
B. Many people are a lot like that, they swing widely away at life, but they have missed the whole purpose of life for which God intended.
C. Consider, for a moment, a hammer.
1. It’s designed to hit nails. That’s what it was created to do.
2. Now imagine that the hammer never gets used. It just sits in the toolbox. It doesn’t care.
3. But now imagine that same hammer with a soul, a self-consciousness.
a. Days and days go by with him remaining in the toolbox.
b. He feels funny inside, but he’s not sure exactly why.
c. Something is missing, but he doesn’t know what it is.
4. Then one day someone pulls him out of the toolbox and uses him to break some branches for the fireplace.
a. The hammer is exhilarated. Being held, being wielded, hitting the branches -- the hammer loves it.
b. At the end of the day, though, he is still unfulfilled.
c. Hitting the branches was fun, but it wasn’t enough. Something is still missing.
5. In the days that follow, he’s used often.
a. He reshapes a hubcap, blasts through some sheet rock, knocks a table leg back into place. b. Still, he’s left unfulfilled. So he longs for more action.
c. He wants to be used as much as possible to knock things around, to break things, to blast things, to dent things.
d. He figures that he just hasn’t had enough of these events to satisfy him. More of the same, he believes, is the solution to his lack of fulfillment.
6. Then one day someone uses him on a nail. Suddenly, the lights come on in his hammer soul.
a. He now understands what he was truly designed for. He was meant to hit nails.
b. All the other things he hit pale in comparison. Now he knows what his hammer soul was searching for all along. (illustration taken from website: everystudent.com)
7. The hammer is you and me.
D. Brothers and sisters, we are created in God’s image for relationship with Him.
1. Being in that relationship is the only thing that will ultimately satisfy our souls.
2. Until we come to know God, we’ve had many wonderful experiences, but we haven’t hit a nail.
3. We’ve been used for some noble purposes, but not the one we were ultimately designed for, not the one through which we will find the most fulfillment.
4. Augustine summarized it this way: "You [God] have made us for yourself and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Thee."
E. In Ecclesiastes 3:11, Solomon wrote, “He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”
1. God has created us with a desire for a significant purpose.
2. In our hearts we have a desire for something that will last for eternity.
3. In the book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon describes his own life experience – he searched for meaning among the things we commonly try to find meaning in – pleasure, accomplishments, learning, power and riches.
4. In the end, Solomon found them all to be empty, worthless and dissatisfying.
F. What Solomon discovered is what most of us have also discovered and concluded.
1. Possessions are not worth living for, for they won’t last and don’t truly satisfy.
a. That nice new car quickly looses its luster, gets old and breaks down.
2. Prestige is not worth living for, it doesn’t last and doesn’t truly satisfy.
a. The Italians have a proverb that says, “Once the chess game is over, the king and pawn go back into the same box.”
b. When our game is over, we all end up in a similar box, right?
3. Pleasure is not worth living for, it doesn’t last and doesn’t truly satisfy.
a. How many people have tragically traded their lives and souls for a moment of pleasure?
b. Our former governor Elliot Spitzer is a sad example of where living for pleasure will take a person.
4. We, who know God, have found real purpose and it has nothing to do with possessions, prestige or pleasure.