Pursuing life with a clear sense of purpose
By DALTON RUSHING
I am a couple of months into what I hope will be a life-long experiment in living on purpose. Throughout my day, I have tried to be deliberate about the things I do and the ways in which I spend my time. I have even begun to wake up early so that I can spend each morning reading scripture, spending time in prayer, writing, and exercising. I am no morning person, so waking up early is a challenge!
In all that I do, I am trying to pay attention to the purpose of my life: a purpose which is not so much about God dictating my every move as much as it is about the tuning of my heart’s song so that it may be in harmony with God’s. The writer Anne Lamott says that you can be sure that you have created God in your image when God starts to hate all the same people you do. Living on purpose reminds me that I am made in God’s image and not (thank goodness) the other way around.
The church is called to live on purpose, too. The mission statement of the United Methodist Church says that we are to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. I must admit that most days I prefer the language of "purpose" to "mission statement," because most mission statements sound like they should just be written on letterhead rather than etched upon the human heart.
“Mission” is about what we do, and it is vital, but “purpose” acknowledges that we cannot separate what we do from who we are. We are called to be people who, through willing spirits, are drawn into God’s story.
What if everything we did, together as a church and individually as members of the body of Christ, were done with a sense of purpose? What if we really viewed ministry through the lens of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world? How many bad habits and outdated programs, how much of our own cultural baggage would we ditch so that we could spend our time following God and serving one another?
The church is too important to go along for the sake of going along. There is too much at stake to live on accident, for there are many who need to hear the healing message of Christ's love! There are disciples to be made! There is a world in need of transformation!
With that kind of knowledge, how can we do anything but be driven to serve, to make disciples, to be about the business of working with God to transform the world? How can we do anything but live on purpose?
Rev. Dalton Rushing is Minister of Serve at John’s Creek UMC. He is the featured writer this month in Devotions by Young Adults for Young Adults, a project of the General Board of Discipleship of the UMC. The photo is from a recent trip to Uganda. Contact Rushing at firstname.lastname@example.org.