10 As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
Peter has talked a lot in this letter about purpose. It tends to be a very pertinent question in our short lives, doesn’t it? Why are we here? Why am I breathing today? Why am I in the place I am in? Why do I have the concerns and desires I have? What am I supposed to do with it all?
A while ago, a book was printed entitled The Purpose Driven Life. It is a book that guides someone through discovering what God intends from us as His creation. Not too long ago I had a class that taught us how to discover our divine purpose and the giftings that God has given us all. It’s easy to read through the bible and discover that God designed us to worship Him; but how easy is it to discover how He wants us to worship Him?
There are a few good books on this subject and even good teachers such as Daniel Allen who can guide others through the process. Not that these resources aren’t important, but we mustn’t forget the best source for these answers: God Himself. Afterall, what better source of information about the creation than the Creator?
We all have different abilities, talents, and situations that God has gifted us with to use for His glory. How can you worship God with what you have right now? Someone said to me the other day, “you’re doing the Lord’s work,” referring to me being a missionary in another country. Yes, we sold our stuff, quit our jobs, and are now in a foreign land trying to learn the language and absorb the culture to do what we believe God has called us to do. The only reason we are here is because of two reasons: 1) we finally stopped to ask God what He designed us to do instead of doing what we thought we should do and 2) we asked for the courage to follow through on what He said. But you can “do the Lord’s work” too, you just have to ask Him what it is He designed you to do.
Too often we think that missionary work is about selling everything and moving to another country. This is contrary to God’s design and what the bible says. If He wanted all Americans to leave America to serve poor people in other countries, then who would there be to serve the poor in America? To see the opposite, if He wanted everyone to stay in America, then what about the other countries? I know there are many different political and religious theories on master plans that if everyone agreed to them and implemented them, there wouldn’t be any poverty, etc. Unfortunately, we live in a broken world and it doesn’t work that way. There will always be brokenness and poverty throughout the world. Jesus reminded us of this in Matthew 26, “7 a woman came to Him with an alabaster vial of very costly perfume, and she poured it on His head as He reclined at the table. 8 But the disciples were indignant when they saw this, and said, “Why this waste? 9 For this perfume might have been sold for a high price and the money given to the poor.” 10 But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you bother the woman? For she has done a good deed to Me. 11 For you always have the poor with you; but you do not always have Me.” God doesn’t want us to eliminate poverty, for He already knows it isn’t going to happen until He returns. He wants us to serve Him the way He designed us to. Did Jesus and His followers leave Israel to serve in other countries? Some did; some stayed.
The creation was created to serve the Creator. A potter creates a pot to serve him in some way: to hold water, to serve food, to be sold for a profit, to be given as a gift, etc. Since God is the perfect creator, then nothing He makes is a mistake and everything serves a purpose. Too often we struggle with life because we are working outside of our design. Secondly, we scoff at others because they are not doing what we think they should be doing, but don’t realize that they are doing what God told them to do, not what you want them to do. Who are we to second-guess God’s purpose? Similarly, what is a vase that is sold for profit to say to a bowl that was made to stay in the potter’s house to serve soup? Is the vase wrong for being sold or the bowl less of a creation because people eat out of it?
Some people wonder why we are in Guatemala instead of the United States. We wonder that sometimes too, until He reminds us that we didn’t pick this job, He picked it. It makes entirely too much sense that everything we have experienced and learned in life led to this exact point in our lives to be where we are (spiritually, physically, and emotionally) to serve Him in the way He has called us to. If you think what someone else is doing isn’t correct or that something else should be done instead, this is an indication of what God has designed you to do, not the other person or organization. Too often, though, we are afraid to take that road. Too often we think, “well, you can only do so much.” The fact of the matter is if God wills it, then indeed it is possible. If that desire is in your heart, then ask God to reveal to you His truth and His purpose. Is it just a crazy idea or is it what He designed you to do? He will open the doors for you to continue in that path if you trust Him enough to walk through the doors one at a time. If He doesn’t want it to happen, then He will make sure it doesn’t happen!
As our pastor continually says, “God didn’t just save us from something, He saved us for something.” What mission has He called you to? Why does He continue to let you breathe? Why has He let you experience all you have in your life and why are you in the position you are in now? What are you going to do about it?