Once upon a time, a rich man takes his only son to a wise monk to ask about the child’s purpose in life. Unlike other kids, the man had noticed that his son is always recollected and loves to stay calm by himself. In fact, his entire lifestyle runs contrary to the plans the man has for him when he grows. While waiting in line to see the monk, the boy wanders away.
When it was their turn to meet with the wise monk, the man could not see his son. Searching around with the monk’s help, they finally found him in the temple area by himself praying.
Turning to the man, the monk asked, “why did you bring him?” “I want to know his life purpose because I have plans for him to succeed me in my business as a great merchant”! The man answered. The monk smiled and said, “well, you can see he has a different purpose. I see a great wise monk, not a great merchant”. To cut the story short, the young boy grew to become one of the greatest monks in Tibet’s history.
There is a quick lesson for parents who choose professions for their kids while paying little or no attention to what God has designed for them. You could choose a diaper for your child as a baby, but you cannot choose the purpose of his or her life.
In the First Book of Samuel (3:3b-10,19), we read about the call of the young Samuel to God’s service, which turns out to be the purpose of his life. We could recall that his mother, Hannah, prayed tearfully to God to bless her with a son. She also promised that she would bring the boy to the Lord.
That sounded like a deal, right? When God blessed her with a son, Samuel, she also fulfilled her part of the agreement by bringing the boy to Shiloh to assist Eli, the priest. However, God had a higher purpose for Samuel to be a judge, priest, and prophet, as the events that followed showed.
Do I have a Purpose in Life? How do I Discover it?
Futurologists, psychics, palm readers, visionaries, and others are making a living out of many people seeking to know their purpose in life. Unfortunately, purpose is not something you pick from anywhere or from anyone; it is something you discover within you. Let us put it in another way; God created you with a purpose. But the question remains, “how do you discover your purpose?”
Who are you? Often, we answer this question by mentioning our names and titles. That may be conventionally right, but there is something about you beyond your name and title. A woman went for a job interview, and she was asked, “who are you?”; answering, she gives this shocking reply, “I am a child of God, who is fearfully and wonderfully made, but my name is …” The more surprising part is that she got the job.
We cannot fully define ourselves outside of God. Remember God’s words to Jeremiah, “Before you were formed in the womb, I knew you” (Jer. 1:5). Often, some of us erroneously think that we are nowhere in the plan of God. No! God has a purposeful plan for you; there is a future for you and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11). Listen, you are not an accident; you are here for something, you are unique, you are special, and you are valuable.
Discover your Passion: What is the direction of your passion? I do not mean the wrong things that engage you. Your passion often points to your purpose. They include those valuable things you love to do with enthusiasm and joy. Remember, in our opening story, the young boy was passionate about prayer and solitude, and from those, the monk could identify his purpose.
Discover your Valuable Network: Porter Gale says that “your network is your net worth.” This statement is true about life, generally. Network here refers to the people you interact with and who influence your life in various ways. The Book of Proverbs (27:17) says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”
Some people do not discover their purpose in life because of the type of people in their network. Imagine what could have become of Samuel if he did not have Eli in his network, who taught him how to respond to God’s call.
Discover the Power of Prayer: Prayer is our sure connection to God. When you do not have clarity about your purpose, talk to God, not to some mediums that would lead you away to some superstitions about your life’s purpose. Psalm (57:2) says, “I cry to God the Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me .” The Book of Job (42:2) says that God can do all things, and no purpose of God can be thwarted.
Your purpose in life is not just about a profession that would help you make a living. It is more of doing God’s will, which is a significant way of realizing our purpose in life. Yes, God created us to know Him, love Him, serve Him, and stick with will all the days of our lives.
For the above reasons, St. Paul encourages us in the First Letter to the Corinthians (6:13c-15a, 17-20) to live morally good lives because we are temples of the Holy Spirit and owned by God. There would be a need for us to adopt Samuel’s style by constantly paying attention to what God has to say to us. We should be able to declare daily, “speak Lord for your servant is listening.” And like the two disciples of John in the Gospel of John (1:35-42), we should be intentional to follow our Lord Jesus and stay with him when we finally find him.
God bless you, and have a blessed week ahead.