(By Angela Watson)
“What is your purpose?” My husband asked me this question out of the blue one evening as we sat having supper with our children.
I paused, mulling over the question. What is my purpose?
Most of us are very familiar with questions like: What do you do? What do you want to be? Or even the ordinary questions that come up at supper like: What did you do today? Did you have a good day?
Usually we can answer these questions pretty easily, but what if we were enjoying a meal together, and I turned to you and asked, “What is your purpose?” This question digs beyond the question “what do you do” to unearth the why. Why do you do what you do?
Studies have shown that people who are successful at accomplishing goals are the people who understand why they want to achieve that goal. Whether it is becoming healthy, taking a course, or learning a new skill, there is an underlying purpose in why we pursue some things and not others.
When we understand the why, it gives us confidence to chase our goals, to step out in faith when we are nervous, and to do the hard things when it would be so much easier to skip them.
My husband had a purpose that night in asking me the question, and it wasn’t to put me on the spot. Some of his management team were attending a course through Schulich School of Business, and the professor had challenged them to find their purpose in life. This seemingly simple question actually caused quite a stir among the team as many struggled to come up with an answer.
Proverbs 16:4 says, “The Lord has made everything for its purpose.” We were created for a purpose, but we can only truly fulfill our purpose when we pursue God’s plan for our lives.
Jesus was the perfect example of this: as He stood before Pilate with what seemed like the fate of His life in Pilate's hands, we see it was God’s purpose being fulfilled. It was not the purposes of the chief priests, or the Pharisees, not the crowd or the governor or even Pilate that were being accomplished.
As Jesus faced the prospect of the cross, He said, “But for this purpose I have come to this hour” (John 12:27). And as He stood before Pilate, He could say those words, “For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world” (John 18:37).
Jesus' purpose in coming into this world was to die on the cross for our sins. If His death had not been the purpose for His life here on earth, then what happened in those three dark hours on the cross, those three days in the tomb, and the triumphant resurrection would not have happened. Proverbs 19:21 reminds us that, “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.”
While it took me a few minutes to frame my answer, in my heart, I knew. As a child of God, my purpose is found in the creator of the universe and I can have confidence that I was created for His purpose. Paul in Ephesians 2:10 writes, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” And he assures us in Philippians 1:6, “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”
You may feel you have little to offer, or that your work has little impact, but you can trust in the power of God “who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began” (2 Timothy 1:9).
Dear sister, God created each of us for a purpose, and as His child “you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9).
We are created to honor and glorify God and to share the gospel with others.
Regardless of how vastly different our answers are to the question “what do you do,” may we take every opportunity as we go through this life to declare the praises of the One who created us in His image, who redeemed us by His blood, and who called us His chosen people.