He has made everything beautiful and appropriate in its time. He has also planted eternity [a sense of divine purpose] in the human heart [a mysterious longing which nothing under the sun can satisfy, except God]—yet man cannot find out (comprehend, grasp) what God has done (His overall plan) from the beginning to the end. (Ecclesiastes 3:11)
A couple of weeks ago, my 23-year-old niece received her nursing pin. There are many reasons I’m so proud of her accomplishment! She excelled academically, she worked a job in the emergency room while in nursing school, she persevered after experiencing the devastating loss of her father, and she has clung to her faith. Yet, what I’m most proud of is that she’s walking in the divine calling for her life. I know this is true because when she first started working in the hospital a few years ago, she said she couldn’t “wait to clean up poop!” People, if that’s not a divine gift from God, I don’t know what is!
Although my niece has been on her divine path for a few years in working towards her nursing degree, that doesn’t mean she doesn’t need to be reminded or doesn’t need to know with complete certainty that the purpose of her life is bigger than just earning money to put a roof over her head. If that’s the mission of our labors, we’ll surely become weary and discouraged in our pursuits. We grow weary because we think we have to make every door open through works without divine intervention. We get discouraged because we limit our possibilities to only what we can accomplish without the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We become stressed because we think we’re alone in this pursuit. But here’s the truth, ” ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)
God knew us before we were created in the womb! He created each of us with a divine purpose to serve in the Kingdom of God. He picked the very moment we would come into this world, because He needed each of us at a time such as this. Just as with my niece, God created her for the purpose of being a nurse. God knew He needed her to be His hands and feet in the hospital. He knows exactly which patients will cross her path during her career. He knows the families that will need her kindness and encouragement in their time of need. He knows the patients that will require the healing touch of a praying nurse. God created us for a purpose bigger than ourselves and young people today will find true contentment when they realize He created us for the Kingdom purposes.
Our current culture is full of unsatisfied individuals trying to fill a void in their souls. This void can only be filled by walking in God’s divine purpose for our lives. People are using drugs, alcohol, sex, social media, attention, money, binge-watching television–you name it, and people are using it to find gratification in this world. Yet, “the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor is the ear filled with hearing.” (Ecclesiastes 1:8) Ecclesiastes starts by telling us how utterly meaningless everything is. You can hear how dissatisfied Solomon was with life. Solomon, the son of David, the heir to the throne, could not fill the longings of his soul outside of the purposes of God.
How different is our world today? Not very much, I would say! Even within the church, we continue to spin our wheels and walk outside the purposes of God. I’m quite sure God never wanted us to come up with some formula to fill church seats and meet the annual church budget. By making these the goals, we have failed to do that for which the Lord created us. We are His body. We are His hands and feet to the nations. Our purpose is to be used by God in the reconciliation of people to the love of the Father through His Son, Jesus Christ. We need to get back to the heart of worship. We need to fall on our knees, repent, and pray for the Holy Spirit to change this world we’re living in today.
It’s no wonder there’s a noticeable absence of 20-somethings in most churches today. We haven’t identified their needs and sought to meet those needs. The church has not given them a purpose bigger than themselves. Our lives were meant for more than just going to work, building a dream home, driving a nice car, and going on an exotic vacation. Trust me, I’m definitely not judging those who have these things. I’m grateful to have enjoyed them myself. I am so blessed by God. I don’t take anything He has given me for granted, but none of these THINGS have fulfilled the longing I have to seek and complete the purposes of God. I have nothing, I am nothing, I want nothing, separate and apart from Jesus Christ!
I’ve lived my life outside of the purposes of God, and I was miserable. I still professed my love of the Lord, but my light for Him was dimmed by seeking the lusts of the flesh and the pride of life. How could I expect to win anyone over to the Lord when I wasn’t happy with my own life? How could I win anyone over when I acted and sounded just like the people of the world who didn’t know the love of Christ? How could I win anyone over when I had no peace? I couldn’t.
To win over the next generation, we must be different. We must find the purpose for which God created us and start walking out the calling He has put upon our lives. Maybe you don’t know what that call is. Perhaps you know, but you have been scared to step out. Maybe guilt and shame have lied to you about your worthiness to God. Are you just too busy to add something else to your responsibilities? Is your house out of order? Do stress and anxiety hold you back? Jesus died so the Holy Spirit could help us in our time of need. The Comforter is sent through PRAYER! John 15:26 (AMP) says, “But when the Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener, Standby) comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of Truth who comes from the Father, He will testify and bear witness about Me.”
It’s time to get back to the basics. Perhaps we need to shift focus from church formulas, itineraries, and programs and be a house of prayer. In prayer, God will minister to us and uproot the source of our guilt and shame. In prayer, the Holy Spirit will speak to us about our call and purpose. In prayer, God will guide us to prioritizing our lives. In prayer, God will bring chaos back into order. The Prince of Peace will dissolve any fear we have about fulfilling the call on our lives. In walking out our purpose, we will be satisfied. In being satisfied, we will not have stress and anxiety. In prayer, we will be set free!
The church is losing a generation who seek the lusts of the world to satisfy the mysterious longing placed within them by God when He created them for a purpose. Our purpose is to bring them home. The time is now. The season of waywardness has come to an end. The battle is fought in prayer, and victory is ours in the Name of Jesus Christ!
This week, I encourage you to read the Book of Ecclesiastes.