“Because of God’s grace to me, I have laid the foundation like an expert builder.  Now others are building on it.  But whoever is building on this foundation must be very careful.  For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have — Jesus Christ.  Anyone who builds on that foundation may use a variety of materials — gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw.  But on the judgment day, fire will reveal with kind of work each builder has done.  The fire will show if a person’s work has any value.  If the work survives, that builder will receive a reward.  But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss.  The builder will be saved, but like someone barely escaping through a wall of flames.”  (1 Corinthians 3:10-15)

Finding our purpose in life is a deep-rooted human quest; we want to know why we’re alive, what we were created for.   Some people are so obviously blessed with talent, passion and drive for specific purposes that the rest of us may wonder how we missed the boat when it sailed through, laden with spectacular abilities for the choosing.

At any age, in any walk of life, for many of us, days turn into months and years that just seem meaningless and mundane.  We look back on our lives and cannot find much of any significance, nor can we realistically envision a big break through of clarity; the coveted “Ah-Ha!” moment where we know why we’re here and what we are supposed to be doing.

Meanwhile, we are bombarded with reminders of others who are chasing their dreams, making life count.  They are excellent athletes, entertainers, artists, business people, motivators, soldiers, parents, visionaries, inventors, adventurers, writers, the list goes on and on.  They seem to have been created for exactly what they are doing.  Good for them. We can celebrate that.

But, for those of us who are not enjoying the fruits of being truly excellent at something, for those of us who have always been just average (even less than average) in our ambitions and abilities, who don’t have a clear vision, who don’t have a clear passion that we can live out on a grand scale, lack of clarity in our purpose for living is a heavy burden we carry.  In truth, this is the reality of life for MOST OF US, not some of us.

So, from an eternal perspective (the only perspective that matters), it is important to get clarity from the Scriptures.

If we feel like our work is meaningless because we aren’t on the fast track to or do not even want to achieve the ‘Big Title’, let us remember that, while some people in the Bible held high status in society, most did not.  Jesus was a carpenter, His disciples were fishermen, tradesmen, and a tax collector.  Rachel was a shepherdess.  Paul was a tent maker.  David was a shepherd and musician before God elevated him to another purpose as soldier and King.  Scripture places no importance at all on these people’s work titles, but does highlight that they were all hard workers, setting their hands to work daily to earn their living. 

Contrary to the popular belief that people’s work should be in line with their passion, it does not matter what our occupation is as long as we treat it as though we are working for the Lord Himself.  When we approach our work from this eternal perspective, when we are dependable to our employers and perform our tasks with integrity, we will always find happiness and satisfaction in our work.  We work for the Lord and we are where we are supposed to be. Our work becomes a testimony to our relationship with Christ and we bring His Name glory in this way without even speaking a word about our faith.

So I saw that there is nothing better for people than to be happy in their work.  That is why we are here!” (Ecclesiastes 3:22)

Again, “Everything has already been decided.  It was known long ago what each person would be.  So there’s no use in arguing with God about your destiny.  The more words you speak, the less they mean.  So what good are they?  In the few days of our meaningless lives, who knows how our days can best be spent?  Our lives are like a shadow.  Who can tell what will happen on this earth after we are gone?” (Ecclesiastes 6:10-12)

So we can break free from the burden of the lie that if our profession isn’t our passion, we are somehow on the wrong path.  We are right where we are supposed to be.  So if our work isn’t necessarily our purpose in life and we don’t necessarily have any clear direction on what our purpose is, what is the answer?

“Jesus came and told his disciples, ‘I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth.  Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.  Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you.  And be sure of this:  I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”  (Matthew 28:16-20)

Yes, it is that simple.  We have one purpose: to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the whole world. 

All else is vanity, entertainment, fleeting.  All else goes to the grave with us when we die.

Lest this revelation spark some drastic thought that we need to quit our job and leave our family and go be a missionary in some remote, dangerous part of the world, we are exactly where we are supposed to be.  Our very lives are a testimony to Christ Jesus if we are living in obedience to His commands.  Christ lives inside of us so wherever we are, anyone we engage with, the opportunity is always there to share the Gospel just by living our lives.

“I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener.  He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.  You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you.  Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.  Yes I am the vine; you are the branches.  Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit.  For apart from me you can do nothing.  Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers.  Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned.  But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted!  When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples.  This brings great glory to my Father.  I have loved you even as my Father has loved me.  Remain in my love.  When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy.  Yes, your joy will overflow!  This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.  There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.  You are my friends if you do what I command.  I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves.  Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me.  You didn’t choose me.  I chose you.  I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name.  This is my command: Love each other.”  (John 15:1-17)

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.  For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.  And having chosen them, he called them to come to him.  And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself.  And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.”  (Romans 8:28-30)

“God saved you by his grace when you believed.  And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.  Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.  For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” (Ephesians 2:8-10)

‘Everything is meaningless,’ says the Teacher, ‘completely meaningless.’ Keep this in mind:  The Teacher was considered wise, and he taught the people everything he knew.  He listened carefully to many proverbs, studying and classifying them.  The Teacher sought to find just the right words to express truths clearly.  The words of the wise are like cattle prods — painful but helpful.  Their collected sayings are like a nail-studded stick with which a shepherd drives the sheep.  But, my child, let me give you some further advice.  Be careful, for writing books is endless, and much study wears you out. That’s the whole story.  Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty.  God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing.” (Ecclesiastes 12:8-14)

So let us make our lives truly count.  Let us fulfill the purpose we were created for.  And along the way, let us enjoy the many passions, things, talents and entertaining moments that make life fun.  That is what they are there for.  Just don’t confuse the importance of the things in this life with the infinitely greater importance of the things of our eternal life.  When it comes to finding our purpose, our Purpose already found us and gave us our assignment. 

If we are called to pray, we must pray.  This is our purpose in life.   If we are called to give, we must give faithfully and according to our ability.  If we are called to care for others, to encourage others, to protect others, to be the best friend we can be, to be the best employee we can be, to be the best parent we can be, to be the best child we can be, whatever we are called to do, this is our purpose. Own it. Our example is Christ Jesus and we represent Him in this world.

Everyone’s life and deeds will be subjected to the refining fires of God on judgment day and we may be surprised to see what survives the fires and what does not.  May God’s Kingdom Come!

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