The other morning I began to study another book in the Bible, but I took a break to read what has become a daily reading and pondering for me: Oswald Chambers’ “My Utmost for His Highest”. Because of this reading, I looked up how many Christian books are out there about finding our purpose, and I quickly tired of viewing page after page on my internet search. There truly is only one book needed, and it’s God’s Word.
Those of us who heeded the call of the Holy Spirit to come to faith in what the Jesus Christ accomplished for the world on the cross: His death, burial, and resurrection, have been gifted with the Lord’s grace and mercy for eternal life with Jesus. He gave Himself as a ransom for our sin because we can’t do anything that will make us righteous in the eyes of the Father, except repent and accept His Son as our Lord and Savior. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) He loves us more than we’ll truly ever begin to fathom.
When Jesus met with His eleven disciples after His resurrection, He gave them the mission all of His disciples are to have: “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen.” (Matt 28:18-20)
This message was given to the disciples over and over again. As we discussed the other day, as Christ followers we are all His missionaries and He has placed us where He chooses us to work for His kingdom and His glory. “The key to the missionary’s difficult task is in the hand of God, and that key is prayer, not work— that is, not work as the word is commonly used today, which often results in the shifting of our focus away from God.” — Oswald Chambers
As I pondered the search of so many “Christian” books that seeks to answer our questions on what our particular purpose is, I had an “aha moment”. When I am seeking my purpose, I’m putting the focus on me, not God. I am seeking something for me, not asking the Lord what He wants me to do for Him today. It takes much discernment to understand the difference between gifts we’ve received to use for the Body of Christ, and a purpose. Our purpose is to humble ourselves, put aside our desires and surrender ourselves to what the Lord wants us to do for His purposes (Luke 9:23).
When Jesus taught the disciples to pray He taught “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matt 6:11). Most often I have thought of that as a request for our daily physical provision. But I began to ponder it in context of Jesus being “the bread of life”. Earlier in that passage He said: “‘Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.’ Then they said to Him, ‘What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?’ Jesus answered and said to them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.'” (John 6:27-29)
Once we believe and come to Christ humbled (“poor in spirit” Matt 5:3) and in repentance (mournful of our sinful nature Matt 5:4), the Holy Spirit seals us (Eph 1:13) and begins the work within us to sanctify us (1 Cor 6:11) so that we become more Christ-like. It is a work He will do for the rest of our lives on earth; we never reach the pinnacle and we are always being refined for His glory.
So how are we to live? “So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so must you do also.” (Col 3:12-13)
What does the Lord mean when we are told to put on a heart of compassion? We are to follow how Jesus walked. “But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, ‘The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.'” (Matt 9:36-38)
From Jesus Christ’s perspective, there are no nations, but only the world. How many of us pray without regard to the persons, but with regard to only one Person— Jesus Christ? He owns the harvest that is produced through distress and through conviction of sin. This is the harvest for which we have to pray that laborers be sent out to reap. – Oswald Chambers
No Christian has a special work to do. A Christ follower is called to be Jesus Christ’s own, “a servant [who] is not greater than his master” (John 13:16), and someone who does not dictate to Jesus Christ what he intends to do. It takes a humbling of a pride (Matt 5:1-12) we have no right to, because we are born into this world in sin, and had no hope of an eternity in heaven without believing and submitting to Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. Our Lord calls us to no special work— He calls us to Himself (John 12:32). “Pray the Lord of the harvest”, and He will engineer your circumstances to send you out as His laborer.