I am a couple of months into what I hope will be a life-long experiment in living on purpose. Throughout my day, I have tried to be deliberate about the things I do and the ways in which I spend my time. I have even begun to wake up early so that I can spend each morning reading scripture, spending time in prayer, writing, and exercising. I am no morning person, so waking up early is a challenge!
In all that I do, I am trying to pay attention to the purpose of my
life: a purpose which is not so much about God dictating my every move
as much as it is about the tuning of my heart’s song so that it may be
in harmony with God’s.
The writer Anne Lamott says that you can be sure that you have
created God in your image when God starts to hate all the same people
you do. Living on purpose reminds me that I am made in God’s image and
not (thank goodness) the other way around.
The church is called to live on purpose, too. The mission statement
of the United Methodist Church says that we are to make disciples of
Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. I must admit that most
days I prefer the language of “purpose” to “mission statement,” because
most mission statements sound like they should just be written on
letterhead rather than etched upon the human heart.
“Mission” is about what we do, and it is vital, but “purpose”
acknowledges that we cannot separate what we do from who we are. We are
called to be people who, through willing spirits, are drawn into God’s
What if everything we did, together as a church and individually as
members of the body of Christ, were done with a sense of purpose? What
if we really viewed ministry through the lens of making disciples of
Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world? How many bad habits
and outdated programs would we push to the side, and how much of our own
cultural baggage would we ditch so that we could spend our time
following God and serving one another?
The church is too important to go along for the sake of going along.
There is too much at stake to live on accident, for there are many who
need to hear the healing message of Christ’s love! There are disciples
to be made! There is a world in need of transformation! With that kind
of knowledge, how can we do anything but be driven to serve, to make
disciples, to be about the business of working with God to transform the
world? How can we do anything but live on purpose?
(This post was first posted at Devotions by Young Adults for Young Adults,
a project of the General Board of Discipleship of the UMC. It was also sent as a devotion through Monday Morning in North Georgia, the weekly devotional of the North Georgia Annual Conference. It was a blessing to participate in each of these forums!)