Summary: Realize God did not create you to be a consumer but to make a contribution to the world

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Sunday, May 23, 2004

40 Days of Purpose – week 5

We are in the fifth week of 40 Days of Purpose answering the question “What on earth am I here for?” I have asked Karen Yarnall to be a living demonstration of last week’s message, but also this week’s message, as she is going to do some pottery. (Pay attention up here though, not over there.)

Last week we talked about the third purpose that God has in our lives, that we were created to become like Christ. God has this image in his mind, like right now in Karen’s mind there is an image of what she wants to create. Now it is going to happen as the clay yields to her molding and making and remains on the wheel. If the clay should jump off the wheel and no longer cooperate with her or it dries out, it is not going to form. The same thing is true with our lives. God has an end in mind. The end in mind is to restore his image in our lives; to build the character of Christ, and this is progress. When the world talks about progress, it really means regressive acts. We have already been to Babylon. We have already experienced Sodom and Gomorrrah in Rome. We need to progress as a culture and a people and to progress is to be reformed in God’s image; to have the character of God instilled in our lives - that is the third purpose.

The fourth purpose for our lives is that we were shaped for God’s service. Karen is going to shape something. God is doing something in our lives as well and he has already shaped us for some form of service but before we talk about that, let’s pray. [says prayer]

We were shaped for God’s service. Now you may want to look at the outline because I will be referring to a lot of the verses in the outline. Ephesians 2:10: “We are God’s workmanship” like that clay, “created in Christ Jesus” for what “to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” God has already prepared you for certain things. God has a purpose for your life. That purpose is to do good works. He has already prepared what those things are; he has already shaped you for this.

We are going to talk about what that shaping means. 1 Peter 4:10 says this: “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others.” That’s God purpose. God didn’t create us for the acquisition of wealth. There is nothing wrong with it, if God blesses you with it; but he has created us for the purpose of serving others. John 13:12-14 says this: “When Jesus finished washing” (Jesus was a model of this) “their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. Do you understand what I have done for you?” I think he asks us as well, Do you understand what I have done for you? You call me “Teacher” and “Lord,” (and we have worshiped him this morning under that same theme) and you are right, that’s what I am and yet I, your Teacher and Lord, have washed your feet. You should wash one another’s feet as well.

That metaphor -washing one another’s feet -is what’s behind the word service. The word “service” in Greek also means the word “ministry.” Ministry equals service, service equals ministry. When we think of the word ministry, though, so often we think of the person up front, the person with a collar or a robe but that’s not what the word ministry means or a minister is. It’s not just one person, it’s all of us. All of us wear robes. All of us are called to have a collar. All of us are called to service.

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