A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps. (Proverbs 16:9)
Why do we exist? Why are we here? What gives our lives meaning? What is the enigmatic reasoning for our existence? WHAT IS OUR PURPOSE?
I spent years pondering this very question, when one day, a young woman simply said to me, “Pastor, what I love most about you, is that you don’t just TALK about “IT” (referring to my life and lifestyle) — you BE about “IT.” I wasn’t sure what she was saying at first, but later the point became clear. I have been about my purpose most of my life — positively influencing the lives of others.
As I have grown older I am grateful to have grown wiser. I have learned that trying to analyze every intricate moment of life can result in what someone coined “analysis paralysis,” which can prevent you from doing anything. And so I learned early on to “Do something –lest I do nothing.“
In the past, like many of us, I believed I had to be perfect, rich, smart and beautiful, to impact the world. I waited, procrastinated, delayed and deferred even the smallest tasks. I convinced myself that I was not a “people” person and that my contribution would not be missed. But I quickly learned the value of a simple smile, a kind and honest word or a “helping” hand. It’s wonderful how God uses simple things to confound the wise. A “loving” attitude has miraculous power to the broken and hurting. Unintentionally, many times, it is the “hurting” that hurt others out of their own pain. That is why we are witnessing so much bullying, violence, abuse and rage today. These are “trying” times and the world is in intense pain. But whatever else I know, it is that we were not created nor do we exist to exacerbate its suffering.
That young woman’s words to this day, keep me humbled and focused on what I believe is important to God for us in this life–to love one another as God has loved us–unconditionally. We are not here to placate, pacify or to glorify ourselves. In fact, we have nothing to boast of. We own nothing–not even ourselves. We are merely stewards of everything we have and are. We exist to bless the lives of others and, in so doing; our Creator blesses us. No amount of pondering or planning will get the job done. It takes action–going–doing. It requires (“being” about) whatever our hands and hearts find to do to the Glory of God. And “to whom much is given, much is required.” Remember the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30).
One can make a difference, if only in the life of another one. Fulfilling our purpose needs no special preparation or discussion. Like the Nike slogan — “Just Do it!” Don’t just “talk about it”– “Be about it.” Help someone. Give to someone. Lift someone. Offer hope to someone. That’s our purpose. That’s why we’re here.
All that is necessary to fulfill one’s purpose is a sincere heart and a genuine desire to help someone. This pleases our loving God who is love. Someone once said, and it is true, “People don’t care what you know until they know that you care.” Nothing I ever learned in school or in life assured me more perfectly why I exist than that young parishioner’s words years ago. I have not just “talked about life, I have been about it– To God be the Glory!! Nothing keeps me so grounded as a smile from a child I teach. Nothing humbles me so completely as hearing from someone who has sought me out to say thank you for touching my life.
I know why I am here. What about you? My life has been and simply is my “reasonable service” to God. It is a prelude to a hoped for eternal “Well Done.”
And so beloveds, I share these favorite words a songwriter so gloriously penned:
If I can help somebody as I pass along,
If I can cheer somebody with a word or song,
If I can show somebody he is trav’ling wrong,
Then my living shall not be in vain.
If I can do my duty as a Christian ought,
If I can bring back beauty to a world up-wrought,
If I can spread love’s message that the Master taught,
Then my living shall not be in vain.