Our True Purpose

Something about our society really pushes this idea that we have to “find our purpose.” And if we can’t find it we’re somehow incredible failures at life.

We look for our purpose in schools and degrees and licenses that will allow us to put capital letters after our name.

We look for our purpose in beauty salons and malls, thinking that maybe, with the right hairstyle and the perfect pair of jeans, our purpose will suddenly manifest itself.

We look for our purpose in relationships, pushing for marriage to a partner we hope will change and then we’ll be happy. And when we can’t find our purpose in that relationship we’ll have children so we can look for our purpose in them.

We look for our purpose in jobs and careers others say will make us feel good, but when they don’t, we think there must be something wrong with us and maybe we don’t have a purpose after all. Or maybe we’re not smart enough or good enough or qualified enough to ever find our purpose and we’ll continue to live a meaningless life, wasting the time we’ve been given.

But what if… what if God already revealed our purpose?

What if it’s been hiding out in the open all along? Something so obvious we keep walking past it?

In John 13:34 [ESV] we read these words: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”

Read that again….

God tells us that we are to love one another just as He loves us.

What if that is what we’re supposed to be doing? What if loving others in the way God loves us is why we’re here? What we’re supposed to get right?

Not just going through the motions, or – if we’re brutally honest with ourselves – just loving the easy people; the ones we like, the ones who are kind, the ones who shower us with compliments and praise and encouragement.

What if we really started living this purpose of loving others in a Christ-like love? What would that look like? To our neighbors? To the aggravating lady behind us in line? The angry parent at the basketball game? The kid who is sitting by themselves at lunch? The socially awkward person that makes conversation so difficult?

How would our choices change if we started really loving the poor? The sick? The people no one else wants to talk to? The people everyone else turns away from?

I work part time at our local library and for one week every couple of months a group of homeless men are sheltered at a nearby church. Without transportation or a job to go to many walk the short blocks to our library and spend the week flipping through magazines, checking out things on the internet, sometimes even falling asleep in a chair in front of the fireplace or by the aquarium until we close.

I watch many people walk past them as if they don’t exist. I’ve heard many complaints. “Why do they have to come here?” “Some of them smell so bad.” “They just make me feel uneasy.” “Why can’t they just get a job like the rest of us?”

But there is one woman – one woman – who knows them all by name. She smiles and greets them as they walk through the door. She treats them with they dignity and respect they deserve because they are God’s children.

This woman also works at the library and the men respect her. She knows their hearts are weary. She knows it’s not so easy to just “get a job” when every week you’re in a different city because there are no permanent homeless shelters and they must rely on the graciousness of whatever church opens their doors. Especially in the freezing cold Wisconsin winter months.

She grabs a TV and sets it up in the back allowing them to quietly watch movies, so long as they are appropriate to the patrons that visit our library. She suggests books they might like to read. She offers them coffee. And, this past week, on her day off, she came in specifically for them, offering some food to fill their empty stomachs.

Without judgement, without fanfare, without requiring thanks, she simply loves these homeless men the way God loves us. Never once has she said they were not good enough, responsible enough, clean enough, to be respected and cared for and loved.

“Love each other in the same way I have loved you.”

How many of us would share sandwiches to the homeless man waiting for time to pass until he returns to the shelter? How many of us would instead complain that he should just get a job or clean up his life?

“Love each other in the same way I have loved you.”

When this becomes our purpose, our choices change. Our habits change. Our hearts change.

And our life starts having incredible meaning.

Meaning God intended our lives to have: overflowing with love for His children.

John 15:12

John 15:12

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