Find­ing your pur­pose

Siloam Springs Herald Leader - - NEWS - Ron Wood Colum­nist

I ap­pre­ci­ate the ter­rific book writ­ten sev­eral years ago by Rick War­ren, The Pur­pose Driven Life. How­ever, “pur­pose-driven” (Type A or D Pro­file) in­di­vid­u­als can be dif­fi­cult. I’ve learned that bound­aries need to in place, if ful­fill­ing your pur­pose is what mo­ti­vates you. It is good to be pas­sion­ate about your pur­pose, but fam­ily and re­la­tion­ships are im­por­tant. Par­ents, pas­tors and CEO’s must know this. I’ll come back to “peo­ple-fo­cused” mo­ti­va­tion later.

What about hav­ing a “pres­ence driven” life? By that I mean pur­su­ing the pres­ence of God. The pres­ence of God is of­ten ne­glected. It is a won­der­ful se­cret to hav­ing a happy life and be­ing a sat­is­fied Chris­tian.

Amer­i­cans are so busy pur­su­ing things — money, self-ful­fill­ment, per­sonal plea­sure — that we make “be­ing the best you” into a theme. That is an im­per­fect goal. Be­ing Christ-like is a bet­ter goal. As a byprod­uct, pur­su­ing the Lord and His plan will shape you into the best ver­sion of you and make you a bless­ing.

What’s your mo­ti­va­tion? Sadly, peo­ple drift through life with­out find­ing their fire. To help iden­tify your pur­pose, ask your­self, “What causes me to feel God’s plea­sure? What gives me joy? What is it I can do that is SO sat­is­fy­ing, I would do it even if no one paid me.

For me, it’s writ­ing or teach­ing, es­pe­cially shar­ing God’s word or ex­plain­ing His ways. I love to share what the Lord has shown me. I love teach­ing God’s word so much I would gladly pay to do it — and I have. Mu­si­cians feel this way. Artists also. Peo­ple who pray a lot are like this. They are self-mo­ti­vated.

Hav­ing a gen­uine sense of mis­sion — know­ing the rea­son you ex­ist — can help you over­come the hur­dles that hold lesser peo­ple back. How do you de­fine suc­cess? Find out why God put you here. Be in­dus­tri­ous about do­ing your Fa­ther’s busi­ness. Stick to that path. It brings real rewards.

The Bi­ble says, “Who­ever does the will of God abides for­ever.” That’s an amaz­ing prom­ise! Hey, that would make a good head­stone — “He did the will of God.” I’ll never for­get the time the Lord brought me up short in a se­ri­ous think-about-it mo­ment. We’d re­turned from Africa and were tak­ing some time to con­sider our next step.

The Lord kept ask­ing me, “How do you mea­sure suc­cess?” The ques­tion kept in­trud­ing into my thoughts any­time I was alone with the Lord. At first, I ig­nored it. Then I re­al­ized it was not an idle thought; it was God. I had never con­sid­ered the ques­tion be­fore. I as­sumed I knew. I thought, if I ful­fill my min­istry, if I do what God called me to do, then I will be a suc­cess. But that was not the total an­swer.

I won’t go into the de­tails, but it was quite an ex­pe­ri­ence to grasp what God was say­ing to me. I fi­nally re­al­ized the Lord was mak­ing me re­con­sider my mis­sion. It was no longer about me or my min­istry: it was about a larger pur­pose. My new suc­cess would come only when I learned to help oth­ers find and ful­fill their call­ing. My new goal has be­come en­abling oth­ers to dis­cover their min­istry or grace gifts. I like to equip believ­ers to serve, and thereby produce more fully de­voted fol­low­ers of Je­sus.

If we dis­cover our pur­pose in life we can en­joy do­ing it for the glory of God. As a side ben­e­fit, we may earn a good liv­ing by serv­ing the church (or the world) with our God-given abil­i­ties.

— Ron Wood is a writer and min­is­ter. Email him at or visit The opin­ions ex­pressed are those of the au­thor.

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