How Purpose is Rooted in Love

Because we’re human, when we set out to find purpose in our lives, we may focus on doing something that makes us feel good about ourselves.  There’s nothing wrong with healthy self-esteem, but if that’s our only goal, we risk missing what I believe is a vital component to finding purpose. Love. The kind of unselfish love that puts others’ needs ahead of our own comfort, gain, or acknowledgment.

Richard Sterns, President of World Vision U.S., says the following in his book Unfinished, Filling the Hole in Our Gospel: “God’s deepest desire is not that we would help the poor. God’s deepest desire is that we would love the poor; for if we love them, we will surely help them.”

Recently, I was moved by a friend’s decision to listen to God’s voice while standing in the line at the grocery store. The lady ahead of her was having difficulty with her debit/credit card being accepted, so she was going to call her bank while at the store in order to get the problem straightened out. My friend heard God telling her to pay for the women’s groceries. Whether or not the lady needed the financial assistance or not, it was probably a frustrating and embarrassing situation for her, and my friend responded out of caring and an obedience to God’s voice by offering to help.

Not long after, I was approached at a gas station by a man who looked to be in his mid-thirties and who had driven up in an older beater. Hed been out of work for some time, and he asked humbly if I could spare a gallon of gas. After listening to an inner voice encouraging me to give him cash, I felt total peace. The man was appreciative and even seemed surprised that I’d offer more than requested. He headed straight for the station clerk and paid for his gas.

A waitress who attempts to give customers a better day by her smile, her attentiveness, or her understanding when those she serves are less than kind, may very well be showing them love, though undeserved.

What do these scenarios have to do with purpose?

I believe that sometimes God gives us opportunities to be his “angels,” and in doing so, we fulfill his purpose for us in that moment in time. When we obey Gods whisper to love, we may never know the true impact our small acts of kindness may have, but he does.

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.  (I Corinthians 13:1 NIV)

God gave us a wonderful example of purpose rooted in love. Jesus came to earth in human form because of it.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16 NIV)

I believe if we can focus on love in all situations—no  matter what jobs, family responsibilities, or goals we have—we may very well be on our way to living the most fulfilled lives possible.

Have you ever felt a tug on your heart to perform an act of kindness? If so, what was the result?

If you’re struggling with something—or someone—in your life right now, how might changing your perspective and trying to view it/them through eyes of love help you view things differently?


Meme – Inspirational Quote on Being of Value

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Why We Must Listen to Hear the Call

I believe most people search for purpose—they want their lives to count for something—something more than making a big enough paycheck to pay the bills every month.

Around the age of thirteen, something sparked inside of me, and I began to feel a yearning to make a difference. During my teen years, I considered various avenues to accomplish just that. For a while I thought I’d become a medical missionary. Only, at that time, even the sight of a needle made me faint. It broke my young heart to check that option off the list, even though I felt it was a clear sign that God’s plan for me didn’t include a move to Africa. (Since then, I’ve gotten over my fear of needles. Go figure!)

 I dreamed of marrying a pastor, having several babies of our own, and adopting a bunch more from multiple countries. No, that didn’t happen either, and I was actually quite happy with two children.

By the time I was a senior in high school, I strongly believed that I wanted to work with a Christian program in the inner city—rescuing teens from prostitution, crime, and drugs. Reverend David Wilkerson, who wrote The Cross and the Switchblade was my hero. But my parents, who feared for this small town girl with no street smarts, insisted that I finish college before attending a missionary training school and making any decisions about moving to New York City. I was devastated, but I complied. By the time I graduated with a bachelor degree, my life was moving in a different direction.

There was nothing wrong with any of those young dreams, but they weren’t my calling. If they had been, I wouldn’t be where I am today. They were lovely romantic notions, but they weren’t based on reality and the challenges that come with those roles. They also weren’t grounded in my gifts.

I struggled for many years, trying to figure out what God’s purpose was for my life. I prayed and wrestled with him. There were times when I grew weary of waiting for an answer. In my impatience, I stopped listening—to God and other people—and I struck out on my own. I have one word for those experiences. Disaster.

At the right time, God revealed my calling. Some of the ways it came to light was by affirming words given to me by friends, partners in ministry, and other professionals. I know how I’m to use my gifts, and I have peace. I’m also challenged and fulfilled because I’m in the right place.

Think about the people who have influenced your life in a positive way. Has a grandparent, friend, teacher, or co-worker encouraged you, believed in you, or trusted in your abilities? How has that made you feel? Maybe through their words, you’ll find hints or even confirmation as to your own calling.

But even more important—pay attention to that still, small voice of the Holy Spirit within. If you truly listen, he’ll guide you. I promise.

If you’ve struggled with discovering purpose in your life, where have you tried to find it?

Please share about the people in your own life who have influenced you in a positive way.


Meme – Inspirational Quote on Discovering Your Calling

I hope you enjoy this week’s meme. You’re welcome to share it with friends and on your social media sites: Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, Instagram, and Pinterest.

To save it to your computer, right click your mouse (if you’re using one) and “save as.”

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