That title caught my eye today as I opened my browser to look up a few things online. It got me thinking (and yes, it did hurt, the thinking part I mean) about this topic again, especially since this is exactly what God was revealing to me over the last 2-3 months. Now you have to remember, that article above is from a worldly perspective, so I can’t make any claims for it. If you want to read the whole article, follow this link. Basically the author purports that you can discover your life purpose by taking a sheet of paper, clearing your mind, writing down some short phrases that pop into your mind. Do this until a phrase makes you cry – this will be your purpose in life! Of course this seems very simplistic and idealistic and just downright hinky to me (and yes, ‘hinky’ is a word – look it up)! I am not saying it can’t work, I just have my doubts as to its validity.
In any case, it got me to thinking about what my purpose in life is, or my calling as we believers will often say. What is my calling? What’s yours? Do you know? Do you even WANT to know? Do you even care?!
For me it has been a 12-year process of God showing me step by step and piece by piece – much longer than 20 minutes! Of course I am not saying that it will take you 12 years to find out, but I think it will be a bit longer than 20 minutes.
Anyways, the two verses that made my calling and gifting clear to me are 1 Cor 3.5-8 and Titus 1.5. In that passage in 1 Cor 3, Paul writes to the Corinthians – ‘I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.‘ Then in Titus, he writes to him – ‘For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you‘. And that is the main focus for me/us in our ministry – not to plant churches or pioneer ministries like Paul. But to come in after someone like Paul and to water and set in order the things that are lacking, like Apollos or Timothy or Titus.
Now I have to admit, it was hard at first to accept. I wanted to be the Paul, the pioneer, the church-planter. Or at least try that out. But the more I prayed about it, the more it was obvious that it was mostly my flesh – I wanted the recognition, the fame. I wanted my name to be lifted up on high and admired. Being an Apollos or Titus or Timothy, your name is often just listed along with others. And that convicted me and humbled me – I wanted my name to be more recognized than the Lord’s?!?! Wow, such fleshly pride! Who am I anyways, but an empty vessel for Him to use!
So now I am content and even excited to get a clear answer as to my/our calling in ministry and in life. And as I look back at the last 13 years of ministry, that is exactly how God has used and is using us. First in Germany, taking over as pastor of CC Freiburg, then while in SoCal, taking over as pastor in the Spanish Ministry here at CC Murrieta. And now, as we are taking steps to move to New Zealand and to take over a Calvary that was planted 5 years ago. I’ll share more about New Zealand in the next post, but let me end with the rest of the passage from 1 Cor 3…
So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor (v7-8, my emphasis).
to be continued…