There are so many “deep thoughts” which come to all of us each day. You may not consider yourself a “deep thinker” but consider how often thoughts of great magnitude enter your mind. Why am I here? What happens when I die? How did all of this (world, history, time) begin? We are all big, deep, profound thinkers! Have you ever allowed such deep thinking to take you some place new and far away from the present “bedrock” of your life? Have you ever allowed these thoughts to take you to new heights of understanding about life and even existence itself? God loves a thinker! He often uses our questions as a means to reveal new information to us.
Let’s begin with the “Why am I here” or “Why do I exist” question and see where it might take us today. You were born in a specific place geographically as well as chronologically; you weren’t just born to a place but a time. Both of these are of extreme importance when contemplating any purpose your life might have. After all, you could have been born anywhere and at any time in history. These two factors give a setting to your story and are two of the most important factors of your existence. So any consideration of life purpose begins here.
I was born at a place on earth called Texas and in the calendar year of 1970. Let’s look first at how the time I entered history affects my purpose
I had no potential impact or purpose prior to 1970 and am therefore not responsible for anything which happened before then. However, potentially, everything in mankind’s story beyond 1970 could be impacted, even if the impact is infinitesimally small, by my life’s existence. I impacted the life of my mother, father, grand parents, aunts, uncles, cousins as well as their friends from the moment I was born. The affect of my birth and existence made something of a difference, whether positive or negative, to each of these individuals. Each of them felt pride, love, jealousy, indifference or a myriad of other emotions at my arrival. Each emotion was a tool in the hands of God used to shape their life. Their response to God made a difference in their relationship with Him and others. Even before words came to my mind, before I had the capacity to ask the “Why am I here” question, my life had impact and purpose.
Since 1970 I have lived among thousands of people and had opportunity to impact them in great and small ways. I have loved, hated, blessed, cursed and ignored thousands. I have inspired and disappointed, knowingly and unknowingly countless numbers of people. Each of these lives are affected, great or small by their interaction with me. And all the lives they subsequently encounter are therefore touched and affected by me. The chain just goes on and on as our lives impact people we never personally encounter. And this brings us to the great purpose of life which extends beyond our brief stint on the human “timeline.” At best I have 100 or 120 years on this earth (ever the optimist here) and then I am off the scene as quickly as I arrived. But the impact of my life continues to live beyond me as the repercussions, good and bad, of my existence, shape those who come after me.
Now let’s look at the place in which I entered the world and how it affects my purpose
I was born in Texas, speak English and am an American. All of these afford opportunities and limitations as to what I will become and who I will have opportunity to impact in my time on earth. The culture into which I was born has affected me in terms of what I think and believe. Good or bad these have become a part of who I am and a part of my story. We are not omnipresent and cannot therefore be everywhere at the same time. I am not responsible to be in more than one place at a time and should therefore be focused on the present time and location when considering my purpose. This may seem obvious but how many of us complain about where we are at present and miss the opportunity to live our purpose for the moment? Ever fail to bloom where you are planted?
We often consider purpose in terms of vocation and the specifics of how we live our life: who are we to marry where are we to live; what car am I supposed to drive; what church am I to attend? But what if purpose was really a matter of time and place? If this is the case we already have the answer we seek; our purpose is to impact the time and place in which God placed us. Specifics occupy far too much of our attention when we understand purpose in a much broader, and meaningful, light.
Some have defined mankind’s purpose in term’s of glorifying God and enjoying Him. I would never disagree with such a definition. However, the specifics by which we do so are never as complicated as we tend to make them. Look where you are planted, consider when you are planted, and impact the world for good! Make a positive impact that matters for eternity! Love God and love your neighbor!
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