Living On Purpose
by Melanie Lloyd
If I gave you a rock, there are at least a 1,000 things you could do with it. You could put in your garden and display it. You could put it in your shoe. You could skip it across a pond. The impact and influence of the rock is determined by what you do with it more than your possessing it. The same is true for the understanding and insights that we are given.
James 1:22, 25 tells us, “Do not merely listen to the Word…Do what it says…But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it – not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it – they will be blessed in what they do.”
There is a difference between knowing our purpose and living on purpose. I have wrestled with what I perceived as the bigger question of knowing my unique purpose. I am a wonderfully created child of God, but why am I alive? What does God desire to accomplish through me? How do I do it? Am I already doing it? These are deeply important questions to ask Our Father. Yet, we also need to encourage one another to take our inquires further to discern how to live our purpose out – what does it look like to live on purpose – so that we are making an impact with the knowledge He has given us.
Living on purpose is intentionally living each day for the glory of God’s name, the expansion of His Kingdom and the deepening of our relationship with Him. Living on purpose is comprised of numerous smaller questions. Father, how can I reflect You today? How do I walk in the Spirit in this present moment? How do I display the fruit of the Spirit in making the decision squarely in front of me? Living on purpose means intentionally integrating our daily walk with the Lord into our real time lives.
These questions may seem small compared to knowing our individual purpose, but the small stuff really matters. Our daily walk of obedience sets the course for lasting repercussions. I recently read a quote from Ray Ortlund that said, “You matter more than you know. You’re gonna matter to people who aren’t even born yet…Your faithfulness will still be making an impact long after your expiration date.”
Wow! You and I are going to matter to people who aren’t even born yet. Our faithfulness has ripple effects that influence others long after we have left that moment, that season, or even this world. Does that add a little importance to our day? Does that add significance to the decisions we make?
Let’s go back to that rock. When you throw a rock into water, the area of the ripple effect is far greater than the area of the original impact. The same is true with us. All of us, not just the giants of the faith, can make expansive ripples by the small choices that we make each day.
A friend once shared with me how someone was the hands and feet of Jesus to her during a very low point in her life. I was both encouraged and challenged to be someone who loves like that. Like a rock in my pocket, I stored that story away. Weeks later, in a Sunday school class, I metaphorically cast that rock into the water as I retold my friend’s story in response to a question asked by the audience. The tears that flowed showed that the class was just as moved by the story as I originally was. Afterward, multiple people told me they were encouraged by the story. I have no doubt someone has retold the story to a new audience. And so it goes on and on and on with immeasurable impact. My friend’s small decision to share part of herself with me in our simple one on one conversation radiates out to a wider circle...like ripples in water.
Even the littlest things can make big ripples. Almost a decade ago, a man took my shopping cart from the HEB parking lot. As he was walking in, he saw me guiding a toddler, with an infant strapped to my chest, while loading my groceries into my car. All he did was ask if he could take my cart and that man is a saint! I probably wouldn’t recognize him if he were standing next to me, but over the years I have repeatedly thanked God for the provision of that man on a day that I just needed to know I was seen.
Living on purpose requires repeatedly inquiring of our Father and listening attentively to Him. Father God, what are You inviting me to focus on and invest in right now? It’s a recurring question because every day is different within our changing seasons. At the Lunch-n-Learn on November 7th, we will discuss five important areas of our lives that influence our ability to enter into the intentional life God is inviting us to enjoy. We’ll examine our roles and relationships, our passions and values, our gifts and talents, the recurring threads in our stories, and how we are taking care of ourselves. We’ll talk about discerning how God desires us to prioritize those areas in our current season of life so that our small day to day decisions are aligned with His will and draw us closer to Him. You’ll leave with a list of questions to prayerfully contemplate as you listen for the Father’s voice guiding you so that you can live on purpose. What do you hope your ripple effects will be? Be assured that they will be greater than you could ask or imagine. I’m excited to see them in eternity! Register for November 7th Lunch & Learn.