This Sunday, Ruth spoke on “Purpose”. Everything has a specific purpose that it is designed for. We wouldn’t, for example, try to cook a lasagne in a teacup, or write a letter with a fork, because it simply wouldn’t work. We would use an oven for the lasagne and a pen to write the letter. Just as this is true for everyday items, it is also true for us. God has a plan and a purpose for every single one of us, and each purpose he has for us is different and distinct.
The first example in the Bible, of God’s purpose, is where He intended for Adam and Eve to stay in the garden of Eden and tend to it. However, Satan also had a plan, and through his cunning and careful manipulation, he caused his plan to come to fruition, and turned God’s original plan upside down. Using the analogy of the teacup, Ruth asked us to imagine how useful an upside down teacup would be for its intended purpose. This is what happened with Adam and Eve. They were upside down and were therefore not capable of fulfilling their intended purpose, but God, being the good God and Father that He is, found a way to fix things, and turn them (and us) back the right way up. He sent Jesus, who bears all of our sin, and mistakes, and restores our relationship with the Father.
God has a purpose for each and every one of us. It is up to us to discover that purpose, and to choose to follow it. If we know our purpose we can have an abundance of good, but it is up to us to decide whether we are going to walk in that purpose or not, but we must remember that God designed us for something greater than just ourselves, and that if we are to truly thrive, then we must follow His will and calling on our life.
Talking of jigsaw puzzles, Ruth said that the most frustrating thing about doing a jigsaw puzzle will come when there are missing pieces, which prevent us from being able to complete the picture. Drawing our attention to a quote by Lisa Bevere, she speaks of how we are all a piece in a great puzzle that God has designed for us. Ephesians 2:10 says “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to go good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” The truth is that we are not designed to be anyone other than who we are. God created every part of us and knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows our purpose, it is up to us to walk in it.
The thing is, we can’t be all we’re created to be if we’re in the wrong situation. Jeremiah 29:11 says “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.”
Ruth went on to draw our attention to six points about purpose:
Firstly, our purpose is our purpose. We have a specific purpose, and God has created us in such a way, as to enable us to live out that purpose. He does this by giving us gifts and talents. God has called us to whichever vocation and purpose we are supposed to have, and has given us the abilities needed to fulfil that purpose.
Secondly, that our purpose is not just about us. We can be a source of light and good, and give blessings to others when we walk in our purpose. We can reach so many people if we use our God-given gifts and do His will, while walking the path that he has set up for us.
Thirdly, Ruth explained that it is ok to imagine. Imagination is a tool that can be used to diminish and eliminate obstacles. 1Samuel 17 talks of the size of Goliath in comparison to David, and yet, David’s faith in his purpose was so great that he was able to imagine what it would be like to defeat Goliath, and this spurred him on to take the giant down. We all have giants in our lives, but if we can just imagine the possibilities of God’s purpose on our lives, then these giants will become smaller and smaller as we give God His rightful size in our life.
Fourthly, Ruth told us that we will be criticised. We are surrounded, every day by people who will tell us that we’re not good enough, and who will try to knock us down, because this is human nature. Sometimes it comes out of a place of concern, sometimes, out of a place of jealousy, but we have to have the courage of our convictions, and we must keep going towards what God’s purpose for us is. Ruth illustrated this point to us by telling us that all of the disciples were criticised at different points, but they still walked the path of God’s purpose on their lives.
Point five, was that sometimes, we must take a detour in order to get to where we want to be. Think of Joseph. He had a dream that his brothers would bow down to him, but when they sold him into slavery, he must have thought that this could never happen, but God had His hand on Joseph, and although he had to take several other detours along the way, Joseph’s dream eventually came true, illustrating the sixth point that Ruth raised, which was that finding our purpose in our walk with God may take some time and we must just keep going and trusting in Him. The truth is that He is always in control, and is perfectly capable of getting us to our end goals, but it must be in God’s time, and in God’s way.
Ruth then gave us some guidelines on how to find our purpose. The first one, is to pray. We must be in regular conversation with God. This is how we communicate with Him, and how He communicates with us. We must ask Him to give us direction. He wants us to have a purpose. He desires for us to have it. If we talk with Him and ask Him, He will provide.
We must read His Word, if we are to begin to understand His will for us. The Bible is God breathed. It is Him speaking to His people; to us. The Bible is the place that we should go to if we need guidance and answers. God is always there, just waiting to speak to us anew.
It is also important that we listen to our dissatisfaction, because when we do this, and when we act upon it, it can bring about a huge change, not only in our lives, but in those of society. Ruth gave us examples of people throughout history, whose dissatisfaction inspired them to act and to bring about huge changes in the world, for example, Emmeline Pankhurst, and Nelson Mandela, to name but a few. We must listen to ourselves. We must find out what stirs us; what we’re dissatisfied with, so that we can act on it, and walk in the purpose that God has for us.
We must listen to others, and their opinions, but we must be careful that the people we seek counsel from are people we can trust; people who want the best for us. When someone comments on our talents, we must take note, because it is possible that they are picking up on something that we may not have seen.
Ruth encouraged us to listen to our gifts and talents. We can make a list of things that we are good at, and we may find that one of these stands out more than any other. This could be God telling us that this is our purpose. Our gifts come from God, planted as seeds within us, and it is up to us to nurture them and help them to grow that they may bring a blessing to others.
We must also listen to our passions. We need to examine our heart and find out what breaks it. What situation is there in the world, where we feel that we must do something. This is our calling, and this is our purpose, but we must find the way that is right for us to walk in it.
And through all of this it is essential that we trust God. We must listen for His voice in everything we do. Nothing can happen without God, and we can choose to do things that bring us closer to God, or we can choose to do things that take us further from Him, but if we do this, then we are one step further away from walking in the purpose that He truly has for us.
In closing, Ruth said that our purpose is to find our purpose and follow it with all of our heart. This is the challenge given to us, should we choose to accept it.
Will you accept the challenge of living in your purpose, and taking your place in God’s great jigsaw puzzle of life, or will you be the missing piece?
Scriptures: Ephesians 2:10, Jeremiah 29:11, 1Samuel 17