Purpose and Privilege (an invitation to love and to purpose)

The  purpose of his physical presence on Earth was so crystal clear in his mind that given the opportunity for fame, Jesus withdrew. Given the opportunity for power, Jesus withdrew. When he was given the opportunity to defend himself when He was falsely accused, Jesus withdrew. The only time Jesus didn’t withdraw was when he had opportunities to love God and love us faithfully, passionately and fully.

But what was Christ’s purpose on Earth? After-all the Bible says he did come to seek and save the lost. The Bible also says that Jesus died for us. Was it Christ’s mission to die for our sins that drove him to withdraw from everything else? Let’s apply this question to our own lives. What is our purpose on Earth. As Believer’s in Christ, the Bible clearly tells us to, “Go and make disciples.” Shouldn’t that commandment be our primary goal on Earth.

As humans we are so hungry for purpose. Our search for meaning in our lives is a billion dollar industry. We want to do something, “we were born to do.” We want to be someone who makes a difference. We long for fulfillment and meaning. All of these desires are not necessarily wrong. However, with all of our striving, I wonder if our perspective on the subject of purpose is more than a little off. I wonder if we don’t often confuse the ultimate purpose of our existence with the opportunities we are privileged to fulfill. I believe that it is possible that we often mistake purpose with privilege.

For example, I passionately believe that Jesus died for my sins. It was His right to atone for our wickedness even before he entered our world. It was His privilege to lay down his life for our debts when he walked among us. Jesus alone is the one person who could do this for us. It was His choice to make. As much as this single act of Christ was central to our Christian faith, I believe that the primary mission of Christ, his purpose if you will, is not limited to the redemption of humankind. It was his right and privilege to save us. However, I believe that His primary purpose was, and is, and will be forever, to passionately love his father, (to be one with God), and to radically love us, (the way a husband should sacrificially love his bride).

Every action of God that occurs through His Son Jesus flows from his central purpose of love. Imagine, the creation of the universe, the creation of our world, the creation of every living thing as an overflow of God’s love. He has that much Love.  It is through this central purpose of love that He is our Lord and Savior.  It is through this central purpose and for this central purpose of love that you and I were made.

Yet, we search for purpose and meaning. We long for fulfillment. We yearn to do the things were “born to do.” Candidly, I do believe that it is healthy to learn about how we are wired. God’s word is clear, we all have certain gifts and abilities to contribute. Every single person has the potential to add value that is consistent with their own God given design. However, the things we get to do with the best hours of our lives do not define our purpose,  they embody our privilege. I believe that in the great sceme of things, we as humans really only have one purpose that matters, that is to love. Everything else is a privilege we get to do to support our primary purpose.

One of my greatest heros is man named Reggie Tucker. Reggie and his bride Mary run Orange Mound Outreach Ministry (OMOM), a church/community center in the Orange Mound community of Memphis, Tennessee. Reggie puts his life on this line daily for the kids in that community. His ministry provides affordable housing to families to promote a stable environment where kids can grow. Twice a week he holds church services for young people in the community so that they can be grounded in God’s word. It is not an uncommon practice for Reggie to meet with gang leaders in the community in order to help a kid get out of a neighborhood gang. Last week he and a group from OMOM even installed siding on one of ministry’s houses.  Reggie is a tough, driven, fighter for Christ. However, I bet if you asked the kids in Orange Mound how they see Reggie, they would say that they see love. Reggie knows that his purpose is not to hang siding, preach the bible, raise money, etc. He knows that his purpose is to love those kids in Orange Mound. He knows that the best way he can love those kids is introduce them to Christ, teach them how to live like Christ, and teach them how to love like Christ. Every other activity that Reggie works on in the context of his ministry, and in Reggie’s case his life, is a privilege that he gets to do to support his ultimate purpose.

I wonder what the world would be like if we all looked to love instead of vocation in order to fulfill our purpose. I am sure that we would still have doctors and lawyers, plumbers and carpenters. I am sure that we would still need people who are willing to do all the dirty jobs that need to get done. And I am sure that we would need people to be passionate about the things they get to do with the best hours of their day.

Additionally, I don’t think that a world driven by love would be free of conviction and conflict. However, imagine a world driven by love, where everyone acknowledges that to fulfill love is to fulfill our greatest purpose. Where everyone sees all the activities of their lives as potential privileges that they get to do in order to support their purpose. I wonder if a world like that would be filled with people who are more tolerant, less self righteous and less self centered. I have to believe that a world driven by the purpose of love would be an amazing place to live.

I close this post with an invitation discover true purpose. Jesus said,

37 “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40 (NIV)

I fully acknowledge that the words above are commandments from our most high God. According to Jesus, they are the greatest commandments of all. However, God loved us so much that he sent his only Son to die for our sins. God paid a tremendous price so that we would be able to celebrate with Him forever. With God’s great love for us in mind, I would like to present the two greatest commandments from our most high God not as austere decrees to fulfill His holy requirements, but as an invitation to His holy love and to his holy purpose, and so I end with these words as a return path to God’s invitation to love and to purpose.

– To find purpose is the find love –
– To find love is to find Christ –
– To find Christ is to find God. –
– To find God is to love others. –
– To love others is to love God. –
– To love God is to fulfill our purpose. –

AMEN and AMEN

 

 

 

 

 

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