It is popular right now to “discover your destiny”. That is to say, to find that ONE thing in life that you were meant to do. For some it is a benevolent destiny which leads them to a service organization that helps others. For others it is an entrepreneurial endeavor and it brings about a business that flourishes and provides financial security. And for some it is meeting that one person your life would not be complete without thanks to some internet dating service or a friend that says, “So and so would be just perfect for you!” No matter what the circumstances we all desire to know that we have some sort of purpose here and that we will make an impact somewhere or on someone. Just like those long-handled spoons we want to know that we are being used the right way and for the right job.
It has often been said that believers are tools in God’s hands. He has put us here on this earth to do His work and each one of us is designed for a specific purpose within the Church. That point is humorously illustrated in 1 Cor. 12:12-27 when Paul depicts different parts of the human body refusing to function in their various roles. It is ludicrous for a foot to desire to be a nose and an eye to be an ear. It is equally ridiculous for these particular parts to say they no longer belong to the body because they are not what they want to be (vv. 14-19). And refusing to acknowledge a certain part, like the foot, because you no longer want it is also absurd (v. 21). Each part is designed to benefit the whole, even the least auspicious of them. This point was made so clear to me when my mother had to have several bones in her foot removed. The operation though necessary, made it impossible for her to stand without braces form that point on. No matter what the part you play in the body, it is necessary even if it is just a small part.
The Bible does not look at our “destiny” in the same way our culture does. Through the ages men of faith have endeavored to verbalize “the meaning of life”. One of the great documents of the Christian faith, The Westminster Confession, proclaims, “The chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever”. I’m not sure you’ll find that exact wording in Scripture but it is true that Scripture encourages us to glorify God (Mt. 5:16) and that the grand story of Scripture is to restore the relationship that was broken in Eden (Gen. 3:22-24) at the end of time (1 Thess. 4:16-17; Rev. 21:1-4). But there are also a number of “purposes” we are to fulfill in the meantime.
A brief survey of the writings of Paul, John, Peter and the author of Hebrews reveals a list of high aspirations. We are created for good works, (Eph. 2:10), to shine like stars in a world darkened by sin (Phil. 2:12-15), and more importantly relate to one another as a body (1 Cor. 12:27; Rom. 12:10, 16; 13:18; 14:13, 19; 15: 5, 7, 14; 16:16; 1 Cor. 12:25; 16:20; 2 Cor. 13:12; Gal. 5:13; 6:2; Eph. 4:2, 25, 32; 5:19, 21; Phil. 2:3; Col. 3: 9, 13, 16; 1 Thes. 4: 9, 18; 5:11, 13, 15; Heb. 3: 13; 10: 24-25; Js. 4:11; 5:9, 16; 1Pet. 1:22; 4: 8-10; 5:5, 14; 1 Jn. 3: 11, 23; 4: 7, 11-12; 2 Jn. 1:5). We are equipped to do this by the Holy Spirit Who is at work in us (Phil. 1:6) and is evidenced in our lives by His fruit (Gal. 5:22-23). The Holy Spirit dwells in us from the moment we profess faith in Jesus and endows each believer with a specific gift to strengthen and build up the body of Christ (Rom. 12:4-8; 1 Cor. 12:4-11; 1 Pet. 4:10-11). So just like my long-handled spoon which is designed for stirring something good in a large pot, you are designed by the Holy Spirit for a specific role in the church. Are you living up to your/God’s purpose for your life? (Rom. 12:1-2; 1 Pet. 2:4-10)
Ann H. LeFevre, M. Div.
https://www.annhlefevre.com; Olivetreeann@mail.com; https://www.linkedin.com/in/annhlefevre; https://www.facebook.com/ann.h.lefevre