For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. –Ephesians 2:10
I was recently invited to speak at a local church on finding your purpose. My schedule prevented me from being able to accept the invitation; however, it did get me thinking about this topic, so in lieu of presenting in person, here are some of my thoughts:
We may be called to more than one purpose. Our human minds sometimes think in such black or white terms, that we may pressure ourselves into believing we were created for one single, solitary reason. In reality, God may have different purposes for different seasons in our lives. Even Jesus had more than one career; he was a carpenter for much longer than he was in ministry. Your ultimate purpose may be unclear to you now, but perhaps your purpose in this season is to learn and grow so that you are more ready for your greater purpose when it comes. Your purpose at present may be to work and provide for your family, but in the future God may shift it more towards service and ministry. I’ve known of people who enjoyed a career as a physician before God called them into missionary work. Some may have a purpose for a season in one part of the country, and later God may call them for a new purpose in a new area of the world. Don’t get locked into believing there is only one reason God put you here; He can use you in many ways if you remain open to Him.
Not everyone is called to the ministry…and that’s OK! Sometimes people may feel as though what they do for a living somehow is less important in the kingdom of God than the ministry. Missionaries, pastors, or gospel singers must rank a little higher with God because their purpose involves full-time ministry. The truth is, God places you exactly where He needs you. Not everyone is created to be in THE ministry, but we are all called to A ministry. No matter what you do for a living or how you spend your time, God can make a ministry out of it, and it will be no less valuable to the kingdom. It doesn’t matter if you are a pastor or a janitor; the impact on the kingdom of how you spend your time has everything to do with the degree to which you surrender to God. There are Wal-mart greeters out there who, because they share God’s warmth with others through a simple hello and a smile, may touch people’s lives more strongly than a preacher, if that preacher is angry, shaming, cold or even doing unethical things. So, as you ask God to show you your purpose, keep in mind that He may call you to own a restaurant, be a teacher, or help people with their taxes (God bless you!) and all of that is just as important as the ministry, because it is what God created you to do. He will use it to touch people who need to see His light shine the way it uniquely shines through you.
I hope this is encouraging to those that might be feeling a little lost at the moment. Hang in there! Keep praying! God directs all of your steps, even the ones that don’t make sense or don’t seem to lead anywhere particularly important. Rest in Him. Your purpose(s) will reveal itself in His time!