Finding Purpose and Meaning

American author Richard Bach has been quoted as saying, “Here’s the test to find whether your mission on earth is finished: If you’re alive, it isn’t!”

Recently I read about the celebrated potter Warren MacKenzie, who in his nineties continues to produce works of such beauty that they bring the art world to his door. In an interview, he said, “A good potter can make forty or fifty pots in a day.” Out of these, “some are good and some of them are mediocre and some of them are bad.” Only a few will be worth selling and fewer still “will continue to engage the senses after daily use.”

Early in his career as an artist, MacKenzie gave up drawing and painting, silk screening and textile design, and concentrated on ceramics. He had found his lifelong passion and purpose.

If you take time to think about your purpose in life, you may suspect that God created you to do something significant. Do you know what it is? George Eliot said, “It is never too late to be what you could have been.” If you want to discover your destiny, look to your Creator, the Author of life. He is the source of purpose and meaning.

God’s purpose for our lives starts right where we are. If we miss it, it may be because we are listening to the wrong voices or not going through the doors God has opened for us. Elisabeth Elliot wrote, “Other than the incarnation, I know of no more staggering truth than that a sovereign God has ordained my participation” (in doing his will).

Author Bill Peel said that the purpose of God for our lives is not a big secret. He is not hiding his will from us. He suggests three principles for discovering God’s purpose. (1) God desires that we know him in a personal way. (2) God desires that we submit to his authority and are conformed to the image of Christ. (3) God wants us to be involved in his mission on earth.

Moses discovered his purpose in life and he acted on it. “By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt” (Hebrews 11:24-26).

These verses pass over the first forty years of Moses’ life. Reared with royalty and luxury, he was being groomed for high office in the kingdom of Egypt. As he grew up he noticed the difference between the lives of the Hebrew people who retained their faith in the true God and the Egyptians who worshiped false gods.

Moses made the mature, and costly, decision to exchange the visible for the invisible, the temporary for the eternal. He made the calculated choice  to align himself with the people of God. The Egyptians saw them as slaves. Moses saw them as people of destiny. God had a purpose for these people, and for him.

He chose “disgrace for the sake of Christ.” This is the writer’s way of saying that Moses’ identity with God’s people was also his identity with God’s Messiah. The Hebrews were the people through whom the Christ would come.

Visitors to Egypt today are awestruck by the splendor and opulence of the ancient Egyptian civilization. Their temples and tombs have yielded unspeakable treasures. This may indicate the fabulous wealth and luxury available to Moses as an adopted son in the royal family. He “left Egypt” “because he was looking ahead to his reward” (Hebrews 11:26).

He found his purpose. He was looking ahead. Like the son of missionaries who would introduce himself this way: “Hi. I’m Eric Crain. I was born in Germany, I go to school in France, I live in Portugal, but my home is in heaven!” That’s what Moses discovered. He had a heavenly destiny and a heavenly reward and a heavenly purpose.

This enabled him, by faith, to turn his back on the prestige, power and wealth of Egypt and to be identified with the people of God.

Pastor Randy Faulkner