Daily Archives: October 23, 2011
YOUR PURPOSE & VALUE
by Bruce Ball
Why are we here? Is there a reason we are sitting here this morning, in the house of God? What would be our purpose as a Christian? We have touched upon it before, and I think all of us have wondered at one time or another just what our purpose is. I think the two most asked questions about our lives are:
(a) The question of reason – “Why am I here?” (b) The question of value – “Do I matter?”
Asking different people these questions will get you different answers.
·· Oprah Winfrey said, “You’ve got to figure it out by yourself.” ·· The Materialist says, “Life is all about the acquisition of things.” ·· Those who are into the self-help nonsense say, “Create your own purpose.”
Carl Yung, the famous psychiatrist said, “I don’t know the meaning of life or the purpose of life, but it looks as if something were meant by it.” Not to sound unChristian-like, but can we say, “Duh?”
Joseph Taylor wrote a book entitled “I Have No Answers to the Meaning of Life – And I No Longer Want to Search for Any.” That tells us two things about Mr. Taylor. One, he is honestly ignorant, and two, he doesn’t care who knows it.
Sadly, there are many people who see no purpose at all in their lives. And, without any purpose to your life, you have no direction. Having no direction to our lives renders us absolutely useless.
An old farmer and his wife always went to the county fair. And, every year they saw the same pilot offering to take people up for a spin in his airplane for $10.00 a ride.
Every year, the old farmer asked his wife to give him $10.00 so he could go up. Every year, the wife responded by getting very mad at him and saying that ten dollars was ten dollars and they couldn’t afford to be so frivolous with what little money they had.
He told her that he was now 80 years old and if he didn’t go up this year, he never would. In a very angry voice, she repeated that ten dollars was ten dollars. At this point they got into an argument about it.
The pilot overheard them and offered to make them a deal. He would take them up for free – providing he didn’t hear one word from either one of them during the entire trip. If either of them said anything at all, they would have to pay him the $10.00. They agreed.
The pilot put them in, took off and during the course of the next 15 minutes put that plane through every maneuver known to man, including flips, rolls, and nosedives. And he didn’t so much as hear a sound from them.
When they landed, he congratulated the farmer on not making any noise, and asked him how come they never said anything during all the maneuvers. The farmer said, “Well, I was going to say something when my wife fell out, but like she always told me, ‘Ten dollars is ten dollars!”
Let’s talk about why you are here. The first thing we must realize is that God created us – that is why we are here. Now, for those who do not believe in God, there will never be an answer as to why they are here. For those who do believe in God, the answer to that question will be forthcoming.
First of all, ask yourself ….
1. WHY DID GOD PUT ME HERE?
We are not the first people to ask what our purpose is. That question was also asked in JEREMIAH 20:18.
“Why did I ever come out of the womb to see trouble and sorrow and to end my days in shame?”
God put you here for His purposes, not your purposes and for His pleasure, not your pleasure. When you understand that, you will start to see your life from a different perspective.
ISAIAH 49:5a, says it plainly: “And now the Lord says – He who formed me in the womb to be His servant.”
We are not here to enjoy ourselves, but to enjoy the Lord. We are not here to wander aimlessly through life, working for our own desires, but to work for the Lord for the desires He has for us.
We look ahead and see our own desires and conclusions. We do what we want to do and go where we want to go. We forget that we have a Master and that Master has a plan for us.
In EPHESIANS 1:4, we are told – “For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world, to be holy and blameless in His sight.”
There are three basic truths in our lives.
·· God loves us more than we know ·· God wants us to love Him with all our hearts ·· God wants us to love others in His name
When we start to realize just how very much our God loves us, we will start to realize a love for Him develop within our hearts. And the more we love Him, the more we will change to love those around us in ways we could not have done before.
God does not do love; God is love. It sometimes helps us to understand Him a little better if we exchange the word God with the word Love.
You were put here because God created you. You were put here because God created you. And God created you to worship and love Him; to walk in His will for you. That is why you were put here.
So now that you know WHY you are here, it is time to see if you know …
2. WHAT YOUR PURPOSE IN LIFE IS
You can walk down any street and ask a bunch of strangers if they think God loves them. Almost all of them will say, “Yes.” Everyone thinks God loves them. And you know what? They are right! God does love everybody. But the real question of purpose is whether we love God or not.
Do we love God enough to follow His commandments; to read His Word; to receive His Son? God’s love for us will not get us into heaven; only our love for Him through His Son, Jesus, will get us to heaven. But it cannot just be an acknowledgement – it has to be a commitment from the heart.
It doesn’t matter where you have been. It only matters where you are (in Christ) today, and where you want to go tomorrow (heaven).
We hear much talk today about a ‘purpose driven life.’ When we break that down, we see there are actually five great benefits to having purpose in our lives.
a) Purpose gives meaning to our lives b) Purpose simplifies our lives c) Purpose prepares us for eternity with God d) Purpose keeps us focused e) And purpose motivates us
By the way you live your life, would others see that you are a Christian? Would you say you are really in love with God? If I told you how to discover your purpose in life, would you want to know badly enough to do the things necessary to live your purpose?
You are here because God put you here, and your purpose in being here is to love Him and worship Him – constantly, and in all things.
Enough about purpose for a while. Let talk about …
3. THE VALUE OF YOUR LIFE
I started this message by telling you about the farmer and his wife who both knew the value of $10.00. We must always be aware of value. It is said that when a man of money meets a man of experience, the man with experience ends up with the money and the man of money ends up with the experience. One knows the value of money, and now, the other knows the value of experience.
When we look at God’s generosity, we also see the depth of how much He really loves us, as is demonstrated by His extreme generosity.
JOHN 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world He gave His One and only Son, so that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
If all you think about is the fact that you are unworthy or that you do not deserve God, it will lead you to feelings of self-condemnation and alienation from Christ. These feelings are from the enemy, and they are all meant for one thing; to steal your joy and get you unfocused.
Let me give you some truth right now. There is no condemnation to those who are in Christ. Let me tell you once again that it does not matter what you were before Christ, the only thing that matters is the great value God places on you, after you come to Christ.
For some, I pray this will be very liberating. Something you have waited all your life to hear. I pray that God uses this message to finally free you from the doubts you have had about your worth; your value; and even your salvation.
Let’s quickly look at a couple of things that determine value and see how we stack up in a biblical standard.
How much something costs to make is a very critical element in determining the item’s final value, isn’t it?
In GENESIS 1:26 we do not see any hesitancy in our creation, even though God knew what lie ahead for His Son.
He knew how much it was going to cost Him, and He went ahead with the project anyway. Why? Because in His eyes, we were worth it. The cost of creating and redeeming you and me was outweighed by the value He placed on us.
Another thing that determines our value is –
THE PURCHASE PRICE
You would be surprised at how much some people are willing to pay for certain things. A couple of years ago, I heard where some rock and roll band, whom I have never heard of before, is selling tickets for their last performance in America. They said the money would go to help the victims of Katrina.
The owner of the club they will be playing in said that he has four special spectator boxes similar to the press boxes at a baseball game. He said all four of them have already been rented at $20,000. per box! I love music, but I have never heard a performer who was worth that kind of money.
Some people pay thousands of dollars for beanie babies or Barbie dolls. I wouldn’t, because they aren’t worth anything to me. My point is the more something means to you, the more you will be willing to pay for it.
Think of the most valuable thing in your earthly life. Go ahead make it a hum-dinger. Is it some property you own, or a house you have, or maybe a place you go to? Now, let me ask you this question: As valuable as it is to you, would you pay for it with the life of one of your children? Absolutely not! There is nothing on this earth worth that is there? Or, is there?
Evidently, God thought there was. He thought we were worth enough to redeem us with the life of His only Son. You are worth the life of Jesus. That is how much God thinks you are worth. .
In 1 PETER 1:18-19, we read – “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.”
When we consider that Jesus Christ took the world’s sins upon Himself as He hung from that cross, we can start to see just how much He thought we were worth. And that has never changed!
Another thing that determines how much we are worth is –
THE MAINTENANCE COST
If we want to purchase something, but we first find out that whatever it is will end up demanding most of our time or money, we probably would not buy it.
Let me ask you a question: Are you a high-maintenance Christian? In other words, do you need a lot of attention in order to remain faithful? Do you require constant encouragement and constant support from others in order to keep strong in Christ?
Well, I have some very good news for you! Even if you are a high-maintenance Christian who needs lots of special attention, God still thinks you are worth everything He did for you! He sees your significance and He knows your value – even if you don’t.
Just like the grade school teacher who noticed a little girl in her class straining to read the blackboard. She knew the little girl’s family was poor, so she took it upon herself to have the girl’s eyes examined. Sure enough, she needed glasses and the teacher paid for them. The next week the teacher gave her the new glasses.
The girl said she could not take them, as she was poor and could not pay for them. The teacher gave them to her anyway, and said, “You don’t have to pay for them, I already did.”
That is what God did for us. We are worth so much to Him that He paid the price so we do not have to. It is very hard for us to understand this, but to God, we are just as worthy as someone like Billy Graham or the Apostle Paul.
In closing, let me remind you that when someone is very dear to you, you will always speak of that person in loving terms.
In DEUTERONOMY 32:10, we hear how God talks about us. “In a desert land, He found him, in a barren and howling waste. He shielded Him and cared for Him; He guarded Him as the apple of His eye.”
Even though this verse applies to Israel in the Old Testament, it is just as applicable to the church in the New Testament, and to each one of us today.
It always seems much easier for Christians to tell someone else that God loves them, than to say it to themselves. But look at what all God has done to show you how much you mean to Him. For the truth of the matter is you are more valuable to our Father than you will ever understand.
And let me say again, that your singular most important purpose in life is to do as commanded in:
MATTHEW 22:37 ‘… Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’
CRABBY OLD MAN
Later, when the nurses were going through his meager possessions, they found this poem. Its quality and content so impressed the staff that copies were made and distributed to every nurse in the hospital. One nurse took her copy to Missouri .
The old man’s sole bequest to posterity has since appeared in the Christmas edition of the News Magazine of the St. Louis Association for Mental Health. A slide presentation has also been made based on his simple, but eloquent, poem.
And this old man, with nothing left to give to the world, is now the author of this ‘anonymous’ poem winging across the Internet.
Crabby Old Man
What do you see nurses? . . .. .. . What do you see?
What are you thinking . . . . . when you’re looking at me?
A crabby old man . . .. . . not very wise, Uncertain of habit . . . . . with faraway eyes?
Who dribbles his food . . . . . and makes no reply.
When you say in a loud voice . . . . . ‘I do wish you’d try!’
Who seems not to notice . .. . . . the things that you do.
And forever is losing . . . . . A sock or shoe?
Who, resisting or not . . . . . lets you do as you will, With bathing and feeding . . . . . The long day to fill?
Is that what you’re thinking? . . . . . Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse . . . . . you’re not looking at me.
I’ll tell you who I am. . . . .. . As I sit here so still, As I do at your bidding, . . . . . as I eat at your will.
I’m a small child of Ten . . . . . with a father and mother, Brothers and sisters . . . . . who love one another.
A young boy of Sixteen . . . . with wings on his feet.
Dreaming that soon now . .. . . . a lover he’ll meet.
A groom soon at Twenty . . . . . my heart gives a leap.
Remembering, the vows . . . . . that I promised to keep.
At Twenty-Five, now . . . . . I have young of my own.
Who need me to guide . . . . . And a secure happy home.
A man of Thirty . . . .. . My young now grown fast, Bound to each other . . . . . With ties that should last.
At Forty, my young sons . . .. . . have grown and are gone, But my woman’s beside me . . . . . to see I don’t mourn.
At Fifty, once more, babies play ’round my knee, Again, we know children . . .. . . My loved one and me.
Dark days are upon me . . . . . my wife is now dead.
I look at the future . . . . . shudder with dread.
For my young are all rearing . . . . . young of their own.
And I think of the years . . . . . and the love that I’ve known.
I’m now an old man . … . . . and nature is cruel.
Tis jest to make old age . . . . . look like a fool.
The body, it crumbles . . . . . grace and vigor, depart.
There is now a stone . . . . where I once had a heart.
But inside this old carcass . . . . . a young guy still dwells, And now and again . . . . . my battered heart swells.
I remember the joys . . . . . I remember the pain.
And I’m loving and living . . . . . life over again.
I think of the years, all too few . . . .. . gone too fast.
And accept the stark fact . . . . that nothing can last.
So open your eyes, people . . . . . open and see.
Not a crabby old man .. . . Look closer . . . see ME!!
Remember this poem when you next meet
an older person who you might brush aside without looking at the young soul within.
We will all, one day, be there, too!
There’s all forms
of letting go
Most are painful
don’t you know
Many of them
life will throw
And the toll
begins to show
Some are lessons
meant to grow
As you’re tossed
to and fro
But I think
that even though
Winds of time
at us blow
What God wants
us to know
Is seasons come
and they go!
Teresa Marie 10/22/11
Friends, whether old or new, are a valuable gift that God gives us to help smooth the way through this life that we live here on earth.
Usually undervalued in our adolescence, taken for granted in younger years, finally appreciated in mid-life and dearly missed in elder days.
There are acquaintances, friends, close friends and those who become like family.
Over the years, I have had plenty of them all and wasted most of them.
There are those who don’t give me a second thought, those who bear me no ill-will, those who remember me fondly and would be glad to see me if out paths should cross and then there are some whom I’m sure dearly miss me.
I had to break a lot of close friendships when I got away from the alcohol scene and then again when Mark and I removed ourselves from the drugs. I miss some of those people a lot at times.
There are a few that are not of that culture anymore, for whatever reasons, that I have renewed friendship with.
There are new friends that I have made and new kids that I have “adopted”. Some are real and others are “cyber”, but all are cherished for what they are – gifts!
Some of you may remember me talking about one such “adopted” child of mine who recently got out of prison for vehicular manslaughter. A tragic case that resulted in two deaths and several lives destroyed. At the same time, there was a life saved in the outcome – his. I have no doubt that his life was probably saved in the long run by this event as mine was by the MS. I will be thrilled to see my “son” today when he comes to visit Sara and I on his “free pass” from house arrest.
He could not be any better to me than if he were my own biological son. He still calls me “Mom” and never hangs up or says goodbye without saying “I love you, mom!” He is gracious and solicitous. He calls to “just check on me” and see how I’m feeling. He has been very concerned about the current situation that is going on concerning myself and Sara and often calls to see how everything is going with that. He is definitely family and one of the best people that my eldest daughter ever introduced me to. (There have been a handful of her friends that have remained my “children” over the years.)
I must add as I close that I do have some new “cyber-children” that I have recently adopted that are also great gifts to me (and you all know who you are ). I have also met some very special new “friends” here in the cyber-culture that I would be a lesser person had I not met them. You are all cherished!!!
Always remember that Jesus died for us because He loves us!
With love and blessings,