Purpose is important. It’s the reason for something’s existence. For example, a hammer exists to drive nails. A glass exists to bring a drink to one’s lips. It’s so important that the great Helen Keller once argued that joy is not derived from self-gratification, but from fidelity to a worthy purpose. Think about that quote in light of your own frustrations. If you’re like most of the world, you’ve probably huffed, “what’s the purpose?” during a moment of annoyance when you didn’t understand what you were doing or why you were doing it. Just imagine trying to bring a drink to one’s lips with a hammer, or trying to drive a nail with a glass. It doesn’t usually work very well when you try to use something outside of its intended purpose.
Many of the woes that we experience in life are precisely because we are trying to live our lives outside of God’s purposes for it. And it’s probably safe to say that at some level we’ve falsely interpreted our purpose through a lens of self-gratification. When we do that, we’re trying to drive a nail with a glass, or to drink from a hammer. Instead of asking ourselves what did God intend for my gifts and blessings, we often ask, “how can I use this gift or blessing to benefit myself even more?” But the truth is that in most cases, one’s greatest joy will come from living out one’s life in the way that God intended for it to be lived out.
This realization, of course, leads many people to ask, “what is my purpose?” Everyone’s purpose is a bit different, but for the follower of Christ, all of those purposes should fit tidily within a few categories. A true purpose glorifies God. A true purpose expresses the gospel. A true purpose benefits the body of Christ. Solomon sums it up by arguing that the whole duty of man is to fear God and keep his commandments (Ecclesiastes 12:13). If that is so, then your purpose is to love God with all of your heart, mind, and soul, and to love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:36-40). To begin the journey of discovering your purpose, take an inventory of the roles that God has placed you in, then take an inventory of your talents, gifts, and blessings. Ask yourself how those roles, talents, gifts and blessings can be employed to meet the expectations of those scriptures.