I can remember, as a child, I asked my mother: “Mom, if you hadn’t had me, who would have had me?” In response, my mother just gave me a long look and then she said: “Boy! Go somewhere and play!” She never answered my question and believe it or not, after all this time, I am still curious to know the answer!
My question to my Mom might be one that cannot be answered, but there is a question that everyone should have an answer for! That question is the question of the purpose for your sojourn here on this earth. Now, I am not talking about general purpose, I’m talking about specific purpose. The Westminster Catechism says that man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever. So, the general purpose of man is to glorify God, but how do we do that? Everybody doesn’t glorify God exactly the same way! Jesus gave us a hint in John 17. As he prayed, he said to his Father in verse 4: “I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.” (ESV) So, we can deduct from the prayer of Jesus that a person glorifies God, thereby fulfilling God’s purpose, by accomplishing the work that God has given him or her to do. Therefore, you can answer the original question by finding out what “the work” is that God has given you to do.
The work of Moses was to lead the Children of Israel out of Egyptian bondage. The work of Joshua was to lead the Children of Israel to inherit and possess the Promised Land. The work of Jesus was to die on the cross and be raised from the dead for the redemption of mankind. The work of the Apostle Paul was to establish the church among the non-Jewish peoples. The work of Martin Luther was to spark the Reformation. The work of Abraham Lincoln was to save the Union and free the slaves. The work of Martin Luther King, Jr., was to lead the non-violent civil rights moment. Now, we know about all these individuals, but they were not so unique in the sense that they were the only ones in their generation given a specific work to do. Every person has a calling (a work) and has been equipped to do a specific work.
The main goal or purpose of any individual’s life is not to make money or to be successful, but rather to find their specific work (purpose for being) and engage in that work with all of their strength. You are here in this particular season for a specific reason! Your main pursuit in life should not be success or fame, but rather purpose! Sometimes success and/or fame will come with purpose, sometimes it will not. And if your calling is one that does not bring you notoriety, don’t think little of it. The work that God has called you to do is just as important as the work of Abraham, Moses, the Apostle Paul, or Martin Luther!
However, the one of the greatest tragedies of life is to go through life and even die without ever knowing and/or fulfilling your purpose! It is a tragedy to die without ever knowing why you were born! And as I look around today, the tragedy of people leaving without ever knowing why they came is all too common!