They seem like such noble questions. None of us want to live a selfish life. We all want to feel that our time here is being spent wisely, making a difference, and positively affecting those around us. These are good things. These are things that we should strive for. The problem with the quest to find our one true purpose is that it quickly becomes a solitary pursuit. Once we set out to answer this question, all else fades into the background. We become stuck. We tell ourselves that nothing matters without our purpose. We become almost obsessed with the idea that finding our purpose will change the world.
OK, perhaps I am being a little overdramatic, but let’s be honest with ourselves: we are all guilty of spending countless hours of time and energy seeking, within ourselves, to find our purpose. All the while those around us with real needs are mentally pushed off to the sidelines while we try to figure out how we are going to save the world.
After wasting years of my life searching everywhere but in front of me for my purpose, I have finally come to realize that there is no great mystery. No cloud of smoke or loud voice is ever going to proclaim my purpose from the skies. I have been waiting for the answers while ignoring the truth that was right under my feet. I am not saying that we are born without a purpose, without a destiny. On the contrary, I believe that we are all called to a higher purpose than ourselves. In Ephesians 4, the Bible tells us that we were all called to one faith, one God, one Body and that, as the body of Christ, we are to be humble, gentle, and filled with love for our neighbors. Psalm 119:105 reminds us that God’s Word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. This tells us that God illuminates what is in front of us, nothing more and nothing less.
Seeking after our purpose is actually a very selfish act. The questions surrounding it focus only on us. What am I supposed to do, why am I here, how am I supposed to change things I can’t control? The whole while we are focused on fighting with our inner ego, there are people all around us that need us to live consciously in the moment. Our calling is to be humble, gentle, and loving, yet our first response is to think that it is all about us and our purpose?
I can tell you one thing for sure: I know that our purpose is not to take some intrapersonal journey to the depths of our soul in a feeble attempt to find our “calling.” We are called to love and serve those around us. That means that our purpose is found in the here and now. It is not a matter of finding some unknown future. It is all about living in the moment in order to serve, help, protect, guide, love, and care for those who cross our path.
I have come to learn that my life will be filled with all kinds of different purposes. Each day brings a new purpose as I meet and interact with new people. I am effective only when I am willing to admit and accept that I have no grand calling. My job is simply to be a servant ready and waiting. Jesus, through His death and resurrection, already fulfilled the grand calling. It was His burden and responsibility to save the world, it is not mine. He has already accomplished the goal and brought salvation to all who are lost, hungry, and thirsty. My job is not to try and trump what God has already accomplished through His son Jesus. My job is simply to point the way to the truth, to the one true Savior of the world.
The very nature of my quest to find a bigger purpose for my life, and the desire in my heart to save the world, is not noble. It stems from a lack of understanding and faith about what God has already done. By assuming that I can save the world or even just my family, I mock the sacrifice and the saving grace of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. If I truly believed that Jesus saved the world then why don’t I simply tell everyone I know about the amazing gift God offers us? No, instead I turn my eyes from the world as I bow my head and pray that God shows me the way. My closed eyes, shut tight in prayer, are a reflection of my closed mind, unwilling to accept what God has been trying to tell us for centuries. I pray for answers but never shut up long enough to hear the truth.
Now, I finally understand my purpose. It is a purpose more wonderful than I could ever have imagined, and it is your purpose too. Our purpose is to live our lives with open eyes and eager hearts. We have been given the gift of salvation by the One already called to save the world. Our job is merely to accept this gift and to spread the message that the Savior has come, by being in the moment, ready and willing to love and share the truth with all those around us.