When I was young, my greatest purpose in life was to have fun. Whose wasn’t? My favorite thing to do was play video games, but my parents put a restriction on how much time I got to spend playing Frogger, Pitfall and Paperboy. It felt like there was a never-ending amount of schoolwork, chores and responsibilities that kept me from doing what I loved. Like everyone else, I was made to believe by society that my purpose was to graduate High School. Why? So that I could go to college. Why? So that I could get a good job. Why? So that I could afford to raise a family. Why? So that they could grow up to do the same thing. The sad, sad circle of life. Is that really the purpose of life? I’ve done all of that and there has to be something more. Maybe the newest video game system.
Paul explained his purpose like this…
“Indeed you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace which was given to me for you; that by revelation there was made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in brief. And by referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit; to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel, of which I was made a minister, according to the gift of God’s grace which was given to me according to the working of His power.” Ephesians 3:2-7
Paul’s Purpose: Revealing Act 2
For Paul, his ministry was crystal clear. He was living in the beginning of Act 2. Act 1 was about how God created a people from Abraham and faithfully developed and protected them among the nations. Now the curtains have parted on the second act. Jesus rises from the dead, sends his Holy Spirit and the regeneration of the cosmos has begun with his people, but with a mysterious twist as the main characters, the people of God, take the stage. What is this? People before couldn’t picture it. It was unbelievable. Mothers cover their children’s eyes. Critics start scribbling their scathing reviews. Someone is crying tears of joy. Who’s that on stage? Isn’t that a…Gentile? What a twist! And Paul knew his part and he was ready. The moment when Jesus confronted him on the road to Damascus is when the green light came on and since then he did not miss a cue, he did not miss a line. His ministry was to be the apostle to the Gentiles.
Made for Ministry
Paul is sharing about his unique ministry, but it’s not unique that he’s called to ministry, so are you. Most people in America think of that as a full-time job in a church, but it’s not. Like you have to wear earth tones all the time, home-school your kids and at all costs, avoid having a personality. But it’s not like that. Ministry is a calling that every Christ-follower has on their life. That doesn’t mean you have to start street preaching or go overseas, that just means that your calling is to serve Christ in whatever place he has you with the gifts he’s given you.
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I say that because in verse 10 of this chapter in Ephesians Paul is going to say that it’s all our role to reveal what God has done among us. Peter defines ministry as proclaiming the excellencies of him who called us. The author of Hebrews defines it as a ministry of reconciliation. We show and tell, to whoever is watching, wherever we are, what God has done for us and can do for them.
Gifted with Ministry
And that’s an incredible gift! Paul said in verse 7 that it was a gift of grace that made him a minister. So it is with you! Ralph Barton, one of the top cartoonists of the nations, left this note pinned to his pillow before taking his own life:
“I have had few difficulties, many friends, great successes; I have gone from wife to wife, from house to house, visited great countries of the world, but I am fed up with inventing devices to fill up twenty-four hours of the day.” Ralph Barton
That’s no way to live. If you’ve ever wondered what you’re supposed to do with your life, or why does God have you on this planet, or what is your purpose, you have your answer. You weren’t saved just to sit, soak and sour, or kill time until you get to heaven. God has gifted and graced you, like Paul, with ministry. What can you do today to live in that purpose?
2 thoughts on “Living on Purpose Part 2”
Paul speaks of two essential purposes of God for every person. Jered reminds us of one in reference to what “we do”, Paul was a “minister to the Gentiles” (not exclusively, he also worked tirelessly to try and convince his own people of the truth of Christ). The other flip side of the coin of purpose has to do with “who we are”, “who we are” and “what we do”. The “who we are” really has to do more with God’s purpose of forming Christ in us. He is working to “conform us into the likeness of His Son” — A glorious divine purpose, indeed!
Fantastic comment as always Bill. Thank you so much for your accurate and excellent balance. I so appreciate you helping round things out with your input. Who we are does indeed come from who we are and who we are is only made possible because of who He is! Philippians 2:13, “For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” Thanks again.