Life speeds by quickly. Too often we fail to stop and ask ourselves the most basic fundamental questions. And the most important one is why are you here? What is your true purpose in life?
Is life about you?
Who is at the center of your universe? Who or what matters most? For the first 35 years of my life, I answered that question – me. There is a simple test to help you answer the question. Look at your calendar and your bank account. Where is most of your time and money spent? I think most people spend time chasing after money that gets spent on them and their family. While there is nothing wrong with this, we get caught in a materialistic mindset that does nothing to bring joy or fulfillment.
While most of us just get distracted chasing an American Dream that is an illusion, some of us become so isolated we pursue all the wrong things to fill the void. We look for purpose in power, money, sex, drugs, alcohol or relationships. We chase after promotions only to arrive and realize how hollow they are in providing happiness.
The tragedy is real
I believe this problem lies at the heart of all our problems. If I am the center of the universe then I can judge other people who are different than me. Those people are the problem as they rob me of what is mine. It doesn’t matter whether those people are gay, Muslim, black, brown, “illegal” or some other label. I think somewhere deep within us is a compass that tells us this is wrong. People are not a label. They are a mom, dad, son, daughter, brother, sister. We share more in common than the labels that tear us apart. Do we really think some people are inherently better than others?
The tragic reality is that is what Adolf Hitler believed. In isolated pockets we sometimes look more like Nazi Germany than America. This last week a 62 year old white man was convicted in my neighborhood of telling a greeter at WalMart he should come back and shoot all the Mexicans. This was two weeks after another man did exactly that at a WalMart in El Paso, Texas.
Most of us deep down know this is wrong. Our internal compass tells us that is not justice.
Life is about serving others
My core belief is that deep down we know acquiring more time or money for ourselves and never sharing it with others is wrong. We find our greatest joy when we use our time and resources to serve others. I believe this is because we are all created in the image of God. A loving God who created us to be loving toward others – especially those on the margins.
Down the street from the WalMart where a man threatened to kill all the Mexicans, Centro Esperanza (Hope Center) will be meeting this Saturday. Several of the volunteers are Mexican. They were praying for an opportunity to love their neighbors – ALL neighbors – and they learned about us. At no cost, attorneys and a volunteer team were trained to provide legal guidance to neighbors in need. This Saturday two attorneys and a dozen other volunteers will spend their time loving neighbors.
The team began because a donor decided that rather than spend $5,000 on his family, his family was going to change an entire community through a one-time gift that launched this Hope Center. Going forward the new center is maintained by $30 dignity fees paid by the client.
We all need rescue
We all put ourselves at the center of our universe. Our needs, wants and desires matter most until we see the futility of this rebellion against God. God did not create us to take His place. He created us to reflect His love to others. We all need to be rescued from our selfishness. That is why God sent His son, Jesus to take our selfishness upon Himself and die in our place on a cross. His resurrection provides hope. He restores us in a new relationship with Him. He loves us and tells us to love others.
You were not saved to sit in a church. You were saved to serve in a community. The church is important to equip you for service, but the church is the sending force – not the destination.
We need to restore
Our world is full of self-interest. Self-interest creates injustice and barriers between people. Jesus came to serve others and to destroy all barriers between us and God and us and neighbors. Let Him destroy the dividing wall of hostility. Stop focusing on you. Focus on Jesus and He will focus you on neighbors in need.
This last weekend neighbors were serving neighbors at a grand opening in the North Austin neighborhood of Chicago and another grand opening at Uptown Baptist Church. A team from Chapel Street Church visited another team at Christ Community Church as they prepare to open a new legal ministry in January. They join 101 other locations coast to coast bringing justice to vulnerable neighbors.
How about you?
Do you want to discover your true purpose? Love God. Love Neighbor. Life is not about you. Life is about God using you to love others. All others. One powerful way you can do this is by using your resources to partner with a client. Give a dignity fee of $30 a month. Maybe you can have legacy impact by launching a sustainable ministry for $5,000. Maybe you can give the gift of time as a lawyer or other volunteer member.
Don’t let time slip away. Make a difference now. You will be immeasurably blessed for doing so. That is living your true purpose.