YOUR DRIVING LIFE PURPOSE
John Piper in his book “Don’t Waste Your Life” shared an article from The Reader’s Digest about a couple in the Northeast USA who took early retirement from their jobs. He was fifty-nine and she was fifty-one. They did it to live out “the American Dream!” The article went on to state that “…they now live in Punta Gorda, Florida, where they cruise on their 30-foot trawler, play softball, and collect shells.”
Piper then asked: “And this is ‘the American Dream?’ – come to the end of your life – your one and only precious, God-given life – and let the last great work of your life, before you give an account to your Creator, be this: playing softball and collecting shells?” Piper continues… “Picture them before Christ at the great day of judgement: ‘Look, Lord. See my shells.’ That is a tragedy. And people today are spending billions of dollars to persuade you to embrace that tragic dream.” “Don’t buy it!” Piper cautions. Don’t waste your precious God-given life on things that don’t last.
So what can we do to ensure we don’t waste it? The answer is simple and focused – “Keep Jesus centre.” Some will squirm at the narrowness of this suggestion. Jesus said, “If anyone will come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for me will find it.” (Matthew 16:24-25) In the front pages of my Bible I have written this reminder – “Live for Christ, you live again. Live for self, you live in vain.”
Jesus said that the greatest commandment was this, “To love the Lord your God with ALL your heart, and with ALL your soul, and with ALL your mind.” (Matt. 22:37) But can we really do this and work, and maintain friendships, and enjoy the company of friends, and go fishing, and help others, and enjoy meals, and travel, and care for family, and do all the other things demanded with life and living? Jesus did. And we can to.
The Apostle Paul was riveted on this one single aim, “I have decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” (I Corinthians 2:2) “I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” (Acts 20:24) “For me to live is Christ.” (Philippians 1:21) Jesus was the all-consuming center of Paul’s life.
It is an amazing fact that you don’t have to know a lot of things for your life to make a lasting difference in the world. You don’t have to look like a model, or have a high IQ, or be rich, or come from an influential family, or be a graduate of an Ivy League school. But you do need to be driven with purpose. Your life must have direction and a clear driving focus beyond “…playing softball and collecting shells.” Rick Warren put it this way: “Focusing on yourself will never reveal your purpose. You were made by God and for God, and until you understand that, life will never make sense. Only in God do we discover our origin, our identity, our meaning, our purpose, our significance, and our destiny.”
Ruby Eliason was a career missionary in Cameroon, West Africa. In April of 2000 she was killed in a tragic car accident at the age of eighty-one. Ruby poured out her entire life for one great thing – to make Jesus known among the unreached, the poor, and the sick. She was driven by one great passion – to spend and be spent for Jesus. (Mark 8:35)
Not everyone is called to be a career missionary, but we are all called to make our lives count. Why do you get up in the morning? What drives your days and gives your life meaning? Don’t coast through life without purpose. Ask God to set you free from small dreams and focus your life on Him. (Prov. 3:5-6)
Be blessed my friend.
The Barnabas Group (Loads of Love)
Phil. 3:7-8; Isaiah 26:8; Luke 16:1-13; Hebrews 12:1-3