Do you know your purpose, or do you struggle with it?
I struggled for a looooong time, particularly through high school (you know, when most teenagers have existential crises). Most of us, at one point or another, look at our lives and wonder “Why? Why was I put here? What am I supposed to be doing with my life? What’s my purpose?”
We look for it everywhere, trying to find that ONE thing that we were ‘meant’ to do—as if it’s some hidden, secret thing we have to discover and only a few actually manage to dig up. When we can’t grasp it, we feel lost, empty, or like we’re wasting time.
Like we’re fumbling around and God is standing by tapping his watch waiting for us to puzzle out the mystery and finally ‘get it’ so we can start doing what he wants.
But that's not how it works.
In Colossians 3: 23-24, Paul says, “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as unto the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance, for you serve the Lord Christ.”
That verse rocked my world, and to this day it remains one of my favorites. Do you hear what Paul is getting at? Whatever you do, do it for God’s glory, because we serve him.
Paul doesn’t tell us to find our God-given purpose before we can start serving the Lord. We’re already serving the Lord. Right now. And we don’t serve a God who makes a regimented schedule for our lives and then sends us on a scavenger hunt to find it, all the while looking on and shaking his head in impatient disappointment, or dangling clues like some puckish prankster.
Our God is infinitely creative (I mean, have you seen the world he made? Jellyfish, y’all. Look at the okapi and tell me God is not creative. Look in the mirror!) We are crafted in his image, which means we are creative, too. We’re not automatons built for a single task. We’re not wasting time until we find that specific job.
The ‘whatever you do’ in Colossians means just that—whatever. Write stories. Compose music. Teach. Minister locally or abroad. Make candles. Run a business. Work your job. Raise your kids—WHATEVER you’re doing, wherever your passions lie, do it well. Why?
Because we're serving God in those things.
The big things. The little things. The exciting. The mundane. We serve God through all of it, so we ought to do them well—do them heartily—with our focus on bringing God glory, not for ourselves or other people. It’s the Lord who holds us accountable, after all. It’s the Lord who rewards us according to our work, the Lord who gives us the strength and ability and help to do what we do.
God did create us for a purpose. Christ saves us for a purpose. Not to live aimlessly or selfishly. But to live for his glory. With joy and in companionship alongside our Creator. It’s as simple, as open, (and as convicting!) as that.
Praise God! Our life’s purpose is no great mystery or hidden secret the requires searching out or enlightenment. Do what you do. Do what you love. Life in the presence of God, with God, for his glory, is a life full of purpose.