Living On Purpose

5235-aim_blue_target.630w.tnThe trees once went out to choose their leader, and they first asked the olive tree to be their king.  But the olive tree said to them, ‘Shall I cease to be me, flowing in abundance, by which God and men are honoured, and go to hold sway over the trees? ’ The trees then asked the fig tree,‘You come and be our leader.’ But the fig tree said to them, ‘Shall I stop being a good tasty fruit and go hold sway over the trees? ’

The trees then turned to the vine and said, ‘You come and reign over us.’ But the vine also said to them, ‘How can I cease to produce wine that cheers both God and men and go hold sway over the trees? ’ Lastly, all the trees said to the bramble, please come and reign over us. And the bramble (a very small, weak tree with tiny leaves) said to all trees, ‘If you really want me to be your king, then come and take refuge in my shade; otherwise, let fire come out of me and devour the cedars of Lebanon’. (Judges 9:8-13)

Trees were never meant to have a leader and the three leadership candidates were well aware of this hence turning down the invitation to try to being one. They had a sense of purpose – they were happy to be exactly what they were created to be – and identified their purpose to how their product benefits both God and men. Unlike many of our politicians the bramble didn’t want to make promises they could not deliver.

The quality of our wellbeing is proportional to a conscious fulfilment of our purpose. I use the word ‘conscious’ because there has to be an element of wilful choice involved for a purpose to be of any positive emotional value. It’s one thing to serve a purpose and deliberately serving a purpose. Since an emotional feeling is a product of perception objects that cannot perceive can’t have an emotional feeling. For instance a car on the road might be serving a purpose, but its service won’t have any emotional impact on itself as it lacks feelings. We feel fulfilled when we realize our life has meaning and choose to keep on adding value to others. This is what living with purpose on purpose is all about.

There are two most important moments in our life; the moment we come to existence and the moment we realize why. Our mental consciousness is not required for the former to happen, but deliberate consciousness is necessary for the latter. Unless one finds the why to life to be more valuable than life living becomes mere existence. For me, mere existence is one of the greatest human tragedies. God created each of us for a particular purpose and He will always make sure His purpose for our life is fulfilled. The crucial task therefore is not finding life with meaning but finding a meaning to the life that we are already living.

‘worth’ is another word for the purpose. By worth I mean the merit of serving a need and improving a life. Finding meaning for your life is about perceiving how does your life profit others. Principally, the purpose of an entity always points to something other than itself. According to Genesis 2 God never intended for humans to live a lone life. We were created to live with others in mind – to serve the needs and add value to the lives of others who will in turn serve our needs.

Greater purpose, therefore, is that purpose that profits others in line with God’s will.  As Victor Frankyl said, “being human always points, and is directed, to something, or someone, other than oneself—be it a meaning to fulfill or another human being to encounter. The more one forgets himself—by giving himself to a cause to serve or another person to love—the more human he is and the more he actualizes himself.”

We must seek to do the job primarily because it pleases God and adds value to others – not because we can do it best, or because it pays more, or because its easier, or because its more prestigious or because it is the most convenient. Sometimes this means making radical changes such as embarking on a new career, changing the course of a relationship, or moving to a different location. But more often, than not (especially when we have no or limited choice) all we need is a change of attitude towards a job or life that appears to have no apparent immediate benefit.It is trusting God that the job or the life that we have is indeed pleasing to Him and profitable to us and to others.

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