The first time I heard the word ‘purpose’ it was sandwiched within a boring sermon. I had no interest in what Pastor Godfrey, my then Pastor had to say. He went on and on about Purpose and Destiny, he printed letters about the subject and we shoved them through peoples’ letterboxes. You could say he was obsessed with the topic. Me, I was 19 and very uninterested in such matters. I had better things to do like holding unto my part time job while studying for my exams. So no, I didn’t learn anything.
The first time I realised I had a purpose was when I stopped at Clinton cards at Victoria Station, London. The sales assistant looked like she was in a different world and not at all interested in doing what she was hired to do. I was in attack mode so when I asked her how her day was going, it wasn’t because I really wanted to know. I was looking for an entry point to educate her on good customer service. You could say I was the accuser of the sales assistants. At the same time I suddenly remembered the recent announcement of the closing of 66 stores, another casualty of the economic downturn.
I asked her if she was relocating to another branch and she replied; ‘no, it’s finished. That’s why I keep thinking’. She made a gesture of thinking by touching her right temple then slightly waving her hand in the air. She had a strong Somalian accent and looked Somalian too, her head was covered with a gold trimmed, black scarf.
She carried on; ‘you know its hard because when you’re African…’, her voice trailed off.
In that very moment I wished I could offer her a job on the spot. So I asked for her email address, I wanted to lend a hand. Since her English wasn’t perfect I imagined her resume would need some help too. I couldn’t offer her a job but I could offer her some help to get there. At that moment, I understood that my purpose wasn’t to build my business into a million-pound company so our family could have a good life. My purpose or at least a part of it was to help others along this journey called life. Provide jobs, bless others and not hoard my blessings.
The second time I felt my purpose was while in my current office. There was a mix up at the beginning of the contract which was orchestrated by God. I had favour and ended up in a plush space while paying only a fraction of the actual cost. The facilities manager kept reminding me that my time there would come to an end soon, while I kept thanking God that His favour on me will never end. 🙂
One day while my assistant and I were having an in-depth discussion about how women are devalued in the workplace, we heard some loud arguing going on in the office next to us, the walls are very thin and we could make out some of what was being said between an man (we assumed was the boss) and a woman- possibly the secretary. Their voices rose and things got more heated. We agreed he would not have been shouting that way if his opponent was another man. Then I heard a loud crash and knew I couldn’t hesitate or mind my own business any longer. I went in and found this woman a crumpled mess and all I wanted to do was hold her and tell her she didn’t need to carry on, she could quit and get another job. She allowed me to hold and comfort her while she sobbed and then she told me she was the boss. I didn’t ask if I could pray with her but told her I had to pray, and she didn’t resist. And God moved. I knew at that time that I was in my purpose.
We all have a purpose, God created us all with a purpose, he didn’t just create us and roll us into the world and say ‘go!’ He said go and …. Fill in the blank. What is your blank space? That’s your purpose.
We all have a purpose, a responsibility to uphold and look after our church, we can do that through extending love and praying for each other. That’s needed and wonderful that we can do that. But remember the illustration of the man who offers a fish vs the one who teaches a man to fish. Its great to pray for and encourage one another but physical needs need to be met as well. We have to support our church with our finances, and bless our brothers and sisters financially too. In these hard times it isn’t hard to find those hurting from lack. You can almost assume that everyone is.
We have a purpose within our family as well. Parents are meant too raise children well and in God’s word not so we can sit back and say, ‘I did a good job as a parent’, no. Our purpose in that role is to raise God’s own children (which He entrusted to us) to walk in the path and destiny He chose for them so they can achieve the Lord’s purpose.
Our purpose as friends is to be a companion and ‘truth sàyer’, a cheerleader, helper and encourager to our friends.
Our purpose as children to our parents is to be obedient (children obey your parents) that our parents can hold their heads up high with pride and not hang them in shame for failure to produce the best in us.
Our purpose in the marketplace is to spread the sweet fragrance of Christ in our workplace, and not to bring the dark clouds of condemnation and judgement on our co-workers. We are to let the light of Christ shine through us so they can see the Christ in us. And that is not for our benefit or blessing, but so our heavenly father can reach the unchurched through us.
Have you asked the Lord what you were put on earth to do? Life is not a dress rehearsal, God bless!