Does God have a Purpose for my Life?
NETWORK 1: Matthew 22:34-40
of the most moving experiences of my life was collecting up some of my father’s
carpentry tools, putting them in his tin box and bringing them home following
his premature death. Some of them, like his leather apron, belonged to his father
and looked home made. Some of the handles of the chisels, hammers and saws were
well worn or had been replaced. The metal was a little rusty on some and well
greased on others. The finish was now rather pot marked and dented from use but
the blades or teeth themselves were sharp. While I’m tempted at times to replace
them with bright shiny new tools from Homebase or B&Q I remind myself
that tools are functional not fashionable, for using not displaying.
I have to confess that in the last 20 years they have not had the kind of use my father gave them in the previous 20, or made anything to compare with the furniture or fittings he produced around the house while I was a boy. A lesson I learnt however was that every tool has a specific job, and that in the right hands, the right tool will get the job done. To my cost and occasional personal injury I also learnt by trial and error that a screwdriver does not make a very good chisel, that a knife was not designed to open paint tins, and that a spanner does not make a very good hammer.
In Ephesians 2:10, Paul talks in similar terms about you and me. He says, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Think about that. Each one of us was designed by God to be a specific tool with a specific task, which in the hands of a master craftsman, can change to course of human history. But what happens so often? We sit on the settee and we watch the evening news, shaking our
is why one of the most powerful prayers we can ever pray is this: “Use me, Dear
Lord. Show me what my part is in the transformation of your world. Take my
But it was not until relatively recently that, with the help of the Network Course, I began to understand how God could indeed use you and me as a craftsman uses a specific tool for a specific job. On more than one occasion when asked to fulfil a task in Christian ministry I felt obligated to say yes, but uncomfortable doing it or disappointed by the results. I felt there must be something wrong with me because I wasn’t bearing fruit in the way I thought I should. Network helped me to see that God has created and designed each one of us with a purpose in mind. God has given each one of us a unique set of skills and experiences, of passions, spiritual gifting and preferred ways of working. By cooperating and serving together, we can indeed literally change our world.
That’s why we are re-running the Network Course this Spring – with teaching morning and evenings on Sundays and giving you an opportunity to complete the course with a consultation mid week in January, February or March. The dates are in your news sheet. Is this course for me?
Take a moment to consider which if any of these questions applies to you:
If you checked any or more than one of those statements, then this series is for you. In the weeks down to Easter we are going to find some practical insights and helpful tools to assist you in two of the most important aspects of your life:
Does God have a purpose for my life? You bet. Jesus provided the definitive answer in Matthew 22 as we had read a little earlier.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbour as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." (Matthew 22:37-40).
The apostle Paul summarised it in one verse: ‘You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.’ (Galatians 5:13). This is God’s purpose for you and I. Lets unpack the passage in Galatians in a little more detail. We can observe three dimensions to God’s purposes for you and I:
1. Belong to Jesus Christ () “live by the Spirit”
Believe = belong. Free from the law (). Made alive by the Spirit. Theological terms = Justification.
2. Become like Jesus Christ () “keep in step with the Spirit” – “walk by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature” () “The fruit of the Spirit is…” (5:18) “serve one another in love” (). Sanctification.
3. Be with Jesus Christ () “inherit the
hope and love.
The first dimension is assumed – by faith. The third dimension is looked forward to – in hope. The second – the here and now - is what the NT focuses on because this is the one that really matters. We are told to forget what lies behind and trust God with tomorrow.
Today is the only day that matters. Does God have a purpose for my life? You bet. To become like Jesus Christ by keeping in step with His Spirit, by serving one another humbly in love. All that differs between us is our place of service. God has created and designed each one of us uniquely. We are each wired to care about some issues more than others. We have each been given a passion that fires us. We have been given spiritual gifts to competently accomplish ministry tasks. We have also been designed with a personal style of relating to others and the world around us. The goal of this series and the Network course therefore is to help believers to be fruitful and fulfilled in a meaningful place of service. Let me tell you a little more about the series…
Learning about our passion, gifts and style can help us both in ministry and in the marketplace. When you know who God has created you to be and you express it faithfully, both your professional life and your personal ministry will take on new levels of purpose and meaning. Does God have a purpose for your life?
He does. Can we know what it is? Yes we can.
it requires a commitment. In your news sheet is a book mark. I invite you to put
it in your Bible and use it daily in your reading and prayer. Make a commitment
with me today:
1. Pray to hear the voice of God through his Word and obey willingly.
2. Seek to develop a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ.
3. Assess the passion God has put on your heart to make a caring difference.
4. Identify your spiritual gift to accomplish God’s work, God’s way.
5. Evaluate your personal style as God’s means of relating to others.
6. Complete the Network Course with a personal
consultancy to find your place of service in and through
7. Participate according to your servant profile and be fruitful and fulfilled as you glorify God and edify others.
Lord I really want to make a difference. But I am not sure how to do it.
Please give me the wisdom to know who you want me to be and where I can best make a contribution. Please reveal to me my passion, my spiritual gifts, and my personal style and give me a servant heart, to serve you in and through your Church. Help me to love you with all my heart, soul, mind and strength and my neighbour as myself. Give me peace about my past, and confidence about my future. Above all, help me fulfil the special purpose you designed for me. In Jesus name. Amen.
This sermon draws heavily on Bruce Bugbee’s “What you do best in the Body of Christ” published by Zondervan, and the NETWORK Leaders Guide by Bugbee, Cousins and Hybels also published by Zondervan.