The purpose of your life is far greater than your own personal fulfillment, your peace of mind, or even your happiness. It’s far greater than your family, your career, or even your wildest dreams and ambitions.
It’s not about you.
If you want to know why you were placed on this planet, you must begin with God. You were born by his purpose and for his purpose.
As explained by the popular writer, Rick Warren, the search for the purpose of life has puzzled people for thousands of years. That’s because we typically begin at the wrong starting point–ourselves. We ask self-centered questions like: What do I want to be? What should I do with my life? What are my goals, my ambitions, and my dreams for my future? But focusing on ourselves will never reveal our life’s purpose. The Bible says, “It is God who directs the lives of his creatures; everyone’s life is in his power.
1. How, then, do you discover the purpose you were created for? You have only two options. Your first option is speculation.
2. The second option is Revelation.
You must begin with God, your Creator. You exist only because God wills that you exist. You were made by God and for God–and until you understand that, life will never make sense. It is only in God that we discover our origin, our identity, our meaning, our purpose, our significance, and our destiny. Every other path leads to a dead end.
WHY ARE YOU HERE?
Ecclesiastes 12: 13
LET US HEAR THE CONCLUSION OF THE WHOLE MATTER: FEAR God and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
Old Girls of Wesley Girls’ High School (WGHS) celebrate the life of our former head mistress who died at the ripe age of 87 in January in the U.K. This is Mrs Clarice Howarth (nee Garnett), whom we lovingly called “Garnie”. She came to Ghana when she was 24 years old, left Ghana when she was 55yrs, having spent her youthful days in Ghana. I understand she was the last missionary of the Methodist Church. We learnt after her passing that she had left instructions for her body to be donated for the use of scientific research. We also realized at her funeral service held in Ghana that she was not from a poor home. This means after finishing her education at Oxford, she probably had a lot of options for a bright luxurious future. She opted instead to come and enrich our lives. Her dad actually was a building technologist and left her several houses, some of which she rented out and used the money for philanthropic activities. I have asked myself a lot of questions since that funeral service… as a parent, would I allow my daughter at the young age of 24, when she is due to get married to go to a faraway land, a place seen by many to be infested with mosquitoes and therefore malaria that kept killing missionaries. Would I do that? What makes people do such seemingly “crazy” things in the name of serving God? What is the point?
What does the Bible say about how to find purpose in life?
The Bible is very clear as to what our purpose in life should be. Men in both the Old and New Testaments sought for and discovered life’s purpose. Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, discovered the futility of life when it is lived only for this world. “For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:14). Solomon says that life is all about honoring God with our thoughts and lives and thus keeping His commandments, for one day we will stand before Him in judgment. Part of our purpose in life is to fear God and obey Him.
The apostle Paul talked about all he had achieved religiously before being confronted by the risen Christ, and he concluded that all of it was like a pile of manure compared to the excellence of knowing Christ Jesus. In Philippians 3:9-10, Paul says that he wants nothing more than to know Christ and “be found in Him,” to have His righteousness and to live by faith in Him, even if it meant suffering and dying. Paul’s purpose was knowing Christ, having a righteousness obtained through faith in Him, and living in fellowship with Him, even when that brought on suffering (2 Timothy 3:12).
Our purpose in life, as God originally created man, is to:
1) glorify God and enjoy fellowship with Him,
2) have good relationships with others,
3) work, and
4) have dominion over the earth.
Unfortunately, with man’s fall into sin, fellowship with God is broken, relationships with others are strained, work seems to always be frustrating, and man struggles to maintain any semblance of dominion over nature. Only by restoring fellowship with God, through faith in Jesus Christ, can purpose in life be rediscovered.
A WOMAN’S LEGACY
Usually we use euphemisms such as “Passing Away”, “Give up the Ghost”, “Called to Glory” to describe death and in so doing perhaps encourage ourselves to cope with it. Without meaning to sound morbid, let us imagine each of us living the last hour of our lives, and being given the chance to reflect on our lives and think about these questions:
What will people remember you for?
What have you done to prepare your children to go on without you?
Have you sown any seed that will germinate?
What LEGACY are you leaving behind?
A LEGACY is what remains when everything is said and done. What should worry us is the possibility that we may live a life about which few noteworthy things could be said. Is it possible for any one to live a life that doesn’t matter? No! Because life matters to God – but a squandered life?
Dale Turner once said:
“Two very important days in every life are the day we were born and the day we know why we were born. There are many people, living and dead, who never experienced that second day.”
Why were you born? – How many of us have asked ourselves that question? William James said “The greatest use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it.” That is the stuff of LEGACY. A life more invested in giving than getting.
It is about our longing to live and love well, to make a difference, to celebrate what counts and what lasts in a “hurry-up” world.
Ephesians 2: 10 says
FOR WE ARE GOD’S WORKMANSHIP, CREATED IN CHRIST TO DO GOODWORKS, WHICH GOD REPARED IN ADVANCE FOR US TO DO.
In other words…
GOD HAS CREATED ME TO MAKE A LASTING DIFFERENCE IN MY WORLD, TO TOUCH LIVES WITH A LEGACY THAT ONLY I CAN PLANT AND ONLY HE CAN GROW – HERE I AM, A WOMAN, A WIFE, A DAUGHTER, A MOTHER, NOT HERE BY ACCIDENT BUT BY GOD’S DESIGN, FOR HIS REASONS. SO HOW DO I WANT TO LIVE AND WHAT DO I WANT TO LEAVE?
IT IS NOT EASY
A life-giving legacy does not happen automatically. It takes courage and commitment to risk the consequences of a lifestyle that is deliberately chosen, rather than accepted.
Planting legacies implies looking for opportunities and making your days count, rather than count the days
THERE IS NO TIME
LIFE IS SHORT! Fellow Christians let us live knowing that we are on this earth for a short time. Let us constantly remember that we have a dying soul to save and make it good enough for heaven. How do we do this? Coming to church is good, but we should not put the horse before the cart. We should make Jesus the focus of all decisions in our life; literally, He should be sitting on the throne of our heart – another way of saying this is: “Accept Christ as your savior”.
So where do we start from?
1. KNOW YOURSELF
Jeremiah 17:9 says the human heart is most deceitful and desperately wicked. Paul says in Romans 9:19 that when I want to do good I don’t and when I try not to do wrong I do it anyway. It is obvious from what the Bible tells us that those who are dominated by the sinful nature are controlled by their sinful nature and can never please God. We need the Holy Spirit and the good news is that we are assured that we are under no obligation whatsoever to do what our sinful nature urges us to do. Once we have accepted Christ, the Spirit of God lives in us and we have a choice to allow the spirit to control us, and not our bodies.
2. DARE TO BE DIFFERENT
We must have an attitude of dissatisfaction where matters of Christ are concerned – like Paul.. That I may know him and the power of his resurrection. ITim1,2..
We all know what Romans 12:2 says. “Do not conform to this world…” in other words, do not copy the behaviour and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. It takes a lot of courage to do God’s will and not go along with what is accepted as the norm in our world. We Christians are part of the rising falling standards in our world today: offering and receiving bribes, having extramarital affairs and indulging in acts of immorality. “For the Grace of God has appeared…training us to renounce ungodliness and wordly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age (Titus 2:11,12)
The people of the world ask us every day the questions in Romans 2:21-24 ”Well then if you teach others, why don’t you teach yourself? You tell others not to steal, but do you steal? You say it is wrong to commit adultery, but do you do it? You condemn idolatory, but do you steal from pagan temples? You are so proud of knowing the law, but you dishonour God by breaking it. No wonder the scriptures say the world blasphemes the name of God because of you…”
3. We must have DETERMINATION – PHILIPIANS 3:14
As Christians, we are encouraged to work our own salvation with fear and trembling. We are all guilty of crucifying Jesus again from time to time, but we can be holy (1 Peter 1;13-16) , once we are DETERMINED!!
WE MUST LIVE A PURPOSE DRIVEN LIFE. We should redeem the time. We should live such that people will ask as questions as to how we are able to live for Christ, in this walk to be like Christ, the author and finisher of our faith.
I leave you with five simple ways to LEAVE A LEGACY AND LEAVE SOME HOPE FOR THOSE YOU LOVE.
SHARE YOUR STORIES
Your life experiences may help someone – it could be medicine or music for someone. We need to give courage to each other. We should start with our families, tell them about our early experiences, where we have been, our faith, our failures, the obstacles we have overcome. The stories of your past, your childhood, courtship with your spouse.
Where do you begin? Look for opportunities, a sigh here, when you are cooking, etc. What if you feel “I haven’t done much to talk about”?
Sometimes it is the smallest events, the simplest retellings that touch and change lives.
HORROR OF HORRORS! We can leave this life with too much unsaid. We need to tell the good things God has done for us especially to those we love most… not five, ten years from now, but NOW!
TREASURE THE SEEMININGLY UNIMPORTANT MOMENTS
We need to encourage each other to do the small things in great love.
Picking up your child from school when he expects to come home with a neighbour or a driver, answering the same question for the tenth time without showing your irritation, trying hard not to see the messed up kitchen when your child was only trying to make you some pancakes for dessert.
EMBRACE THE HERE AND NOW
“Life is always today yet sometimes I miss out on the newness of life because I do not stay in the NOWNESS of life”
We worry about yesterday and tomorrow and forget to enjoy today, which is ours. Jesus did it, why not us? He didn’t keep on lamenting about dying on the cross at the tender age of 33. Perhaps we can say with our lives, as Jesus did, that the time we have is just the time we need to accomplish God’s loving purposes for us.
The HERE and NOW is the best place for us, for relationship, aliveness, availability and divine possibilities.
TAKE TIME TO NOURISH YOUR SOUL
“The artiste knows he must be alone to create, the musician to compose, but women need solitude in order to find again the true essence of themselves”
True essence – from God, the giver of life, from his word, by praying. Remember the verse? “BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM LORD”
We should help each other look beyond this life to a life with Jesus. For those of us whose loved ones have gone on ahead of us to Glory, I daresay these bible verses have more meaning. “When we give up this tent that we live in, there is a house for us that was not built with hands… “In my father’s house are many mansions, if it were not so, I would have told you.”
There is a saying that you never know how much you really believe anything, until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you. Heaven is now tangible because our loved ones are there. I look forward even more to going to heaven because I know that is the only way I will see my mother and father again.
Let us take the trouble to share the importance of accepting the saving grace of Jesus with our loved ones and ensure that they all make heaven so that we can all be together. Can you imagine being separated from God for eternity?
LET US BE DETERMINED TO LEAVE LEGACIES THAT WILL MAKE JESUS TELL US “WELL DONE, MY DAUGHTER – WELL DONE, GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT, ENTER INTO THE REST OF THY FATHER!!”