Mary, recognizing her purpose, sat peacefully listening at the feet of Jesus while Martha, confused about her purpose, worried and was bothered about so many things.
According to one survey, 75% of Christians don’t know their purpose. As I kept hearing messages on purpose, I found it difficult to pinpoint my purpose in the way these messages implied. The more I reflected upon purpose, the more I began to question whether that survey and many books on purpose begin with the wrong questions. What is my purpose? What is that special task God wants me to do?
This puts pressure on me to figure “it” out and then do “it”. However, consider Philippians 2:15, “For it is God who is at work in you both to will and to work His good pleasure/purpose,” Depending on the version, some Bibles translate the final word purpose, some pleasure. Interesting! Gods purpose and pleasure are intertwined through my life. This verse places the emphasis on where it should be – God not me.
Most people who talk about purpose focus on what we do, not who we are. As my friend Priscilla says, “We are human beings NOT human doings.” So true! God values each one of us because we are His own beloved masterpieces, not because of anything we can accomplish for Him. Our world is obsessed with numbers and success, with large and influential actions. Sadly, the church is following the world’s lead in this matter.
In my favorite children’s book, Children of the King, by Max Lucado, the king travels to meet his five adopted children. Since he appears in disguise as a weary, traveling man, four of the children ignored him because they were busy doing great works to impress the king. The final child, who believed she had nothing to offer the king, spent her days waiting near the town gate welcoming those who entered. She enjoyed a delightful conversation with the traveler and cared for his horse. When he returned, he admitted to the girl that he was the king and asked her to accompany him on his journey. When she inquired about the others, he told her they were too preoccupied to realize He was in their midst.
Whenever I hear messages that cause me to feel unraveled because I have not identified “my” purpose, and it does not seem I am doing anything “great” for God, I re-read Children of the King and remember His purpose for me is delighting in His presence.
Psalm 138:8 The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord endures forever.