Stepping into Purpose
I recently read a story by the author Bob Goff. In it he details his purchase of a painting titled “The Puppeteer.” According to the story, this painting was not cheap – it was the kind of painting you find in an art gallery or held behind lock-and-key.
When he finally saved enough money to buy the painting, he went in to the gallery and made his purchase. To his surprise, the gallery gave him two pieces: the painting itself and a very good replica of the painting. He learned that the original was deemed too valuable to leave on display. He was instructed to display the fake and keep the original safe in a closet.
Well, that was unacceptable to Bob Goff. He decided to hang the original with no regrets or second thoughts. Even when this painting was blemished in the crossfire of a rubber band fight, he still held the conviction that he made the right choice. To Bob Goff, if the painting was doing anything but being displayed for all who would come near, it would not accomplish its purpose.
I find written into this story the purpose that is found in Ephesians 2:10. “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Purpose is empowering. Like fuel to a flame, purpose ignites a fire in our souls. Though it rages strong, it is not a wildfire. It is not destructive by nature, though we may have to let it burn down certain barriers we have erected. Rather, it is constructive. It is useful. When we live with purpose there is a fire that burns within us and gives off the truest, most radiant light the world will know on this side of eternity.
Each of us has purpose to live out. We are created to “do good works,” and the great thing for us is that the works have already been prepared! They are already set out before us – it is our job to step into them. And if God calls us to them, He will most certainly bring us through them.
One of the final commands that Jesus gave His disciples before the crucifixion can be found in John 13:15. “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” Here is our purpose – to do as Christ did. And what did Christ do but serve? It was His entire purpose -- to glorify God by serving us in His life, in His death and in His resurrection.
We are all called to serve. It is our entire purpose. The Bible lists many ways that we can serve. Some of us are purposed to teach, others to serve, others to encourage, others to give generously, others to lead diligently and still others to be cheerful in showing mercy. In the church we find the model of this. Here we see (at least, we certainly should see) people using their gifts to glorify Christ in many ways. We may have to seek these places out, and that will likely be a step outside of our comfort zone. However, by His mercy, it is not a step we have to take alone.
Over the years I have had incredible Bible teachers that ministered to my soul. Just as impactfully, I have also been ministered to by the person who brought my family a meal when we were in crisis. Having purpose as a Christian doesn’t mean preaching in front of the congregation – at least, not for everyone. It means stepping in to the God-glorifying role of using your gifts to serve His people. If we are not doing this, Church, we are telling God that His handiwork is best kept hidden in the closet. - Jason Simon