What Is Your Purpose in Life?
“ ‘Well done!’ the king exclaimed. ‘You are a good servant. You have been faithful with the little I entrusted to you, so you will be governor of ten cities as your reward.’ ”
What is your purpose in life?
Few questions are more important if we want to live with meaning and vitality. Knowing our life’s purpose enables us to live for what really matters, to make sure we’re not squandering our days.
Often, we express our life’s purpose in terms of measurable goals: to have a successful career, to make a certain amount of money, to be married and have a family, to own a home, and so forth. Having measurable goals can help us to know if we’re living effectively, if we’re achieving our purpose (or purposes).
But, quite often, forces we can’t control mess up our best plans. We’re laid off during a recession. Or we get cancer. Or people we counted on fail us. Last week, I met a woman whose home was struck with lightning and burned to the ground. She lost, not only her home, but also most of her cherished possessions.
Perhaps we should think about our lives, less in terms of accomplishment, and more in terms of faithfulness. In the parable of Luke 19:11-27, upon which I began to reflect yesterday, a nobleman entrusts his wealth to his servants before leaving town. When he returns, he discovers that one of his servants has multiplied by ten times that which was entrusted to him. In response, the nobleman says, “ ‘Well done!’ the king exclaimed. ‘You are a good servant. You have been faithful with the little I entrusted to you, so you will be governor of ten cities as your reward’ ” (19:17). Yes, the nobleman is impressed by the return on his investment, and he rewards his servant with great honor and responsibility. But he praises the servant for being faithful, even in small things.
As Christians, one chief purpose of our lives is to be faithful to God. This means we consistently care about God’s purposes for his creation. It means we seek to honor God in every thought, every action. Being faithful relieves us of the burden of having to produce certain results for God. We are to do the part God has assigned to us; he is responsible for the results.
No matter where you are, no matter what you’re doing with your life, no matter whether you’ve been entrusted with things big or small, your calling is to be faithful. You are to do that which God has given to you, to serve him in your daily work, your relationships, and everything else you do in life, so that one day, when you stand before the Lord, he might say to you: “Well done! You are a good servant. You have been faithful.”
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: How are you being faithful to the Lord in your life? In what areas do you struggle to be faithful? Where are you not sure what faithfulness means?
PRAYER: Dear Lord, as a results-oriented person, you know that sometimes I can lose sight of my first calling: to be faithful to you. I can even rush ahead of you, seeking to do that which is not my responsibility. Forgive me.
Then, there are other times, when I simply forget or choose not to do what you’ve assigned to me. Forgive me.
Help me, dear Lord, to be clear about what you’ve called me to do. Help me to seek above all to be faithful to you, to use well the gifts, talents, resources, relationships, and opportunities you’ve entrusted to me. May I focus, less upon what I can accomplish for you, and more on how I might please you through my faithfulness and obedience. Amen.