This past week our daughter decided she needed to set some life goals to paper. She has been in a hard place for the past 9 months or so and needed to re-evaluate. She decided the best way to do this was take a pen and notebook, go someplace where it was quiet (most likely Barnes and Noble), and sit and write down her thoughts, her dreams and goals.
She was gone for hours. Literally. She left at 5:45pm. Around 9pm I texted her. We are in a new city and she knows no one, so I was a bit concerned. She promptly texted back that she was fine, just listening to a blues band downtown. Ok, I can deal with that. Two hours later I texted again. Where are you now? (I’m the mother of an adult teenager, what can I say?) She says she is watching an old movie.
Of course I have all the normal mother questions. Who are you with? Are you safe? You are watching a movie by yourself? What do you mean there is a bunch of old people watching the movie? Dirty old men kind of old people? What kind of movie is this? You met some people? Some college girls? I thought these were old people watching the movie.
After reassuring me a gazillion times we stop texting. At 12:30am I text her and ask her when she is going to be home as I will not be able to go to sleep until I know she is safe. Call me old fashioned, but if one of my children is under my roof, I will not sleep until I know he/she is safe. No matter how old she is.
The next day my husband, daughter and I were chatting when I casually asked her what she came up with for her life goals. She looked at me, surprised. Her response? “Oh, I forgot to do that!” My husband and I both bust out in laughter. No matter how well intentioned, it’s easy to get distracted, especially for our daughter!
So, how does one come up with one’s purpose? Obviously, the above method didn’t work out so well.
Recently we have made some major life changes. We didn’t make these changes on a whim or spur of the moment. It was something we had been thinking on, praying for, considering for some time. We prayed. We asked others to pray. We prayed. We talked with others and got counsel. Then we prayed some more. I could go on and on, but I think you get the idea. We really prayed about our motives for making these changes. Was all this God’s idea? Or our own?
God has given us several indicators of purpose within our lives. First, look at your talents. In the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30 we learn about a master giving his servants talents to be used for him. I’m not going to print the whole text to save on space, but I will give a quick run down. The master is going away. He gives one servant five talents, one servant two talents and one servant one talent. He asks them to take good care of them for him while he is gone.
Upon returning the master finds the first two wisely using the talents given to them. The third, not so much. Talents, in this parable, are translated as gold or silver. Since it is a parable, we have some freedom in ascertaining this can also mean talents to be used for the church, in furthering God’s kingdom.
The servants who had the five and two talents enthusiastically used those talents entrusted to them to create huge increases, or harvests, for their master. Later, because they used their talents wisely, they are given even more responsibility. They did not make excuses as to why they couldn’t or wouldn’t use their talents. They showed initiative regarding these talents. They did what they had to do with what they were given. And they were blessed because of it.
On the other hand, the servant with the one talent did not use his talent. He was chastised and rebuked. His talent was taken from him and given to another. He hung his head in shame. His fear of failure caused him to, well, fail.
Because this is turning into a sermon, I will continue this post later this week. We’ll look at other factors to consider when determining what is and what is not God’s purpose for our lives. In the meantime, if you have been wondering what your purpose is, write down your talents. What are those things God has gifted you with? Once you have a list, ask yourself how you are using them to further God’s kingdom.