Purpose is simply the reason for which something exists or is done. Nothing exists for nothing, and nothing is done for the sake of nothing. There is always a reason for everything. The principle of purpose stipulates that the value of everything resides only in the fulfillment of its purpose. For that reason, a thing only becomes valuable when it fulfills its ingrained assignment. For example, the main reason for building an aircraft is to transport people and goods from one destination to another within a relatively short time. Granting that after building an aircraft, it only sat in the hangar or on the tarmac all its lifetime. Just by the sheer effect of the law of degeneration, this aircraft would eventually become obsolete and absolutely unusable. Since its manufacture, this beautiful aircraft, in spite of its lofty capabilities, was never airborne except during its testing stage; neither did it convey a single passenger or a kilo of cargo. In fact it spent its entire life on the tarmac or in the hangar until declared obsolete and fit only for the scrap yard. What is your value to God your creator if you never arrive at fulfilling the purpose for which you were created?
In a similar hypothetical illustration, a teacher was hired by a school to teach biology for a contract period of one academic year. The purpose of hiring him was to help prop up the reputation of the school and rescue its sunken image, an image that resulted from a string of very poor results in that subject’s external exams. At the end of the contract, it happened that the teacher ended up producing the worst results the school had ever had in that subject. Just like the aircraft, this teacher did not achieve the purpose for which the school had hired him. He succeeded in further downgrading the record of the school and creating more casualties. In effect, he actually succeeded in becoming a disastrous disappointment to the authorities and the entire school. How sure are you that you are not turning out to be a liability in life rather than an asset?
Again, a deliveryman was contracted to deliver vital medical supplies to a remote village for an emergency health-care treatment. On realizing that the consignment could fetch a fortune on the market, he aborted his mission, diverted his course, and ended up in another country, having sold the shipment for a fortune. Secretly, he returned later to his country and spent his ill-gotten fortune on luxurious living. The rest is left to your judgment. How far have you deviated from the course that God ordained for your life?
The scenarios illustrated above painfully represent the lives of billions of humans on earth. Most people spend their entire lifetimes doing things they have not been assigned to do. Many have traded their assignments for dreams and agendas that are fueled mainly by parochial and self-centered considerations. Others have also chosen to succumb to the distractive temptations of life. For example, some people who should have been great physicians, engineers, psalmists, counselors, ministers of the gospel, philanthropists, and leaders of our time are locked up in brothels and in the streets prostituting their bodies. This is just a hypothetical illustration, representing a very minute chip of the iceberg. Being busy in life or earning an income does not necessarily mean you are fulfilling your purpose. Especially for Christians, it is very easy to spend a whole lifetime worshipping God and still miss out on your assignment. This will normally be the case if you are either not sensitive to the voice of the Spirit, or if you ignore the numerous indicators of your assignment.
The General Purpose of Man
The general purpose of man is stipulated in the Word of God. Man has been created basically to show forth the glory of God, and everything in the written Word of God is geared toward this purpose. That is why it grieves God when we deviate from glorifying him in every sphere of life. The Bible declares in Genesis 1:27 that God made man in his own image. In Isaiah 43:7, we read: “Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.” When God manifests himself to people, what they see is his glory. Glory stands for magnificence, splendor, beauty, wonder, grandeur, brilliance, honor, etc. He created us to show forth his glory on earth through the mandate of creativity and dominion as we interact with each other and exercise control over the earth. He created us to glorify him through righteous living. Showing forth the glory of God covers our relationship with earth, with fellow humans, and also with God. Every one of us has been generally called to love God and worship him, to look to Jesus for salvation, to love one another, to show kindness to people, to preach the gospel of salvation, to be forbearing and forgiving, to be considerate and non-judgmental, to pursue peace and righteousness, etc, This fundamental and basic role of letting our lives glorify God applies to all.
Because people neglect to share the good news of salvation through Christ, many will spend the rest of eternity in hell; because people shy away from showing love, many will commit suicide; because people are mean, chauvinistic, racially prejudiced, inconsiderate, highly judgmental and abusive, many will live their lifetime in fear and bondage; because people are immoral, sexually perverse, and carnally minded, many will live their lives perpetually scarred by the wounds of abuse, rape, and exploitation. Whatever you do in life to earn a living, whatever activities you carry out daily, whatever routines you play out, in all that you do, you are to show forth the glory of God. It is what separates a human being from any other creature. For example, humans are not created to cannibalize one another, whereas some fish and beasts of the field feed on their kind. Can you imagine humans behaving in a like manner?
As much as fulfilling the general purpose of God is very vital, fulfilling only the general purpose without living out the specific assignment for your life leads to disillusionment and the miscarriage of destiny. The general purpose of God represents the big picture, and the specific purpose of God is your exact spot in that big picture. For this reason, it is most vital for every human being not just to show forth the glory of God but also to identify their specific role in the big picture and fulfill them. Whereas you can readily find the general purpose of God in his written word, the unique and specific purpose for your life must be deciphered.
The Specific Purpose
Apart from the general purpose of God for all humanity, there is a purpose that is specific to each and every human life. This individual purpose is complimented by the general purpose, meaning that the specific purpose of God for your life must thrive and be fulfilled within the environment of his general purpose.
The specific purpose for man is distinct and varies from person to person. God created you to solve a particular problem or meet a particular need on earth that fits into his general purpose. For some people, they were possibly created to build schools in certain villages, towns, or cities. No one else would be expected to do that. For others, their assignment may probably be to establish good businesses so the rest can get employment to earn a living. Still, other people were probably created to write divinely inspired books to show the way to many more people, or to establish hospitals and build houses for the destitute and vulnerable people. The list is just inexhaustible.
There are enough resources on earth to cater for every human being. Sad to say, however, that the earth’s resources seem to not be enough to cater for the needs of all mankind. Some children are not in school today just because some people have failed to discover their assignment to establish schools. Some people are living on the streets today just because some others have traded building orphanages and similar facilities for other self-centered and “prestigious” ventures. Some people are dying of hunger and malnutrition because some others who should use their resources to feed and cater for millions and show them the way are spending lavishly on holiday trips, cruises, luxurious living, and other self-gratifying ventures. Humans are made to be interdependent. As a result, destinies are meant to interlink across the globe. No one has been created to thrive alone. The entire human race would have been extinct if humans were meant to be living in isolation and surviving as islands. Everyone will need help along the path of life, no matter how resilient or self-reliant they may feel. But what happens if that vital help does not come? Millions of people just need a little push in life, and they will bother no one. Regrettably, the destinies of many human beings are being held captive by a few because this few either despise their assignment or are simply ignorant of it.
Many Christians have been caught up in the bubble of playing church all their lifetime. They think that church is what they have been called or created to do. They spend hours upon hours having a good time in church. While they spend time doing that, their assignments are waiting for them out there in the world. God wants us to enjoy his presence twenty-four hours a day, but the traditional church building is not the only space in which to worship or enjoy the presence of God. You can literally carry his presence with you anywhere on earth. In the mission field and on every field of assignment, you can attract and maintain the presence of God. God is not just interested in you enjoying his presence in church, but he wants many more lives to be saved, and he desires many more souls to be rescued from the valley of derision and indecision. He wants people’s assignments to be fulfilled. We have been challenged by Christ to a ministry of greater works. That is the real issue. Jesus said in John 14:12, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go to my Father.” This is indeed a challenge to every believer. This is one great statement that should stir up the believer to greater works and to excellence. Jesus was never a static man. He was a man on the move in the fields of assignment. Everywhere he went, he literally carried the presence of the Father with him. The word of God admonishes us not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together, but the word did not say that assembling ourselves together is equivalent to fulfilling our God-given assignment.
Godliness with contentment is great gain, but godliness with contentment in mediocrity and underachievement is unimpressive before God. Jacob was an achiever. Though he was not qualified to receive the blessing of the first-born son, he was not content with a life without the father’s blessing. He was looking for significance and meaning to his life. Life meant more to him than just being content. He had a sense of mission. He had eternity in mind, and he would not take no for an answer. He answered the call to assignment, and everything about him took a dramatic turn. He found a way to the blessing. Now we are all familiar with the significance attached to the name “Jacob” in God’s kingdom. We know the “God of Jacob” but not the “God of Esau.” Esau, who was qualified to receive the father’s blessing by virtue of his birth, rather turned out to be an underachiever. He had everything well cut out for him, but he despised and misappropriated his destiny, trading it cheaply for the lust of the flesh and for temporary relief. He was happy enjoying the meal while the specific reason for which he was born lay unattended. He did not value what he was given from birth. He aborted his God-ordained destiny. God only declared ahead of time what he saw about the future of Esau and this is captured in Genesis 25:23: “And the LORD said unto her, ‘Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.’” Esau, who was the elder, was to inherit the blessing that was due every first born son, but God knew ahead of time that he would despise his calling and mortgage his assignment for a few minutes of pleasure.
You Are Defined by Your Purpose
Every human being is defined by the specific purpose for which they have been created. That is why Mr. “A” will never be the same as Mr. “B.” Assignments are also peculiar in dimension and enormity. They vary in size and content from person to person. This is dictated mainly by the quantum of resources you have been gifted with. While some may be programmed to execute very colossal tasks, others too may be required to execute seemingly small assignments. This is exemplified in the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30), where we see variations in the size of resources and tasks that were apportioned the servants. One servant received five talents, another received two, and the third received one, a scenario that brings to mind a verse in Luke 12:48: “ . . . For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required . . . ”
No matter how big or small your assignment, what counts in the eyes of God and determines your significance in eternity is how fully and faithfully you have carried it out. If you are honest with yourself, you will admit that there is more to your life than you have already achieved. Spend some time to ponder over your life, ask God to open your eyes and grant you vision, then lift up your gaze and look beyond your limits. You will see a vast expanse of territory still waiting to be conquered by you.
A person can genuinely and sincerely be a believer in Christ without ever achieving a fraction of their God-given purpose. David was a churchgoing man, but that was not his purpose or assignment. He was created to be king over Israel. The church was full of him, but he was not full of the church. He was full of the kingdom. He became king of Israel and fulfilled his specific purpose and destiny. He could have just stopped at church, making it his purpose and never becoming king of Israel. Are you an underachiever by any chance? Do you think that you have given your best to the purpose and assignment of God for your life? Have you discarded your dominant gift or are you misapplying it in any way? Do you think that you have been taken in by the Esau syndrome by trivializing your birth right and trading it cheaply for a temporary convenience? These are just a few of the questions that everyone must answer for him or herself. It is all about maximizing your potential and fulfilling the whole counsel of God for your life. It is as important as the gift of salvation.
Fulfilling Your Purpose Determines Your Reward
Fulfilling your purpose and assignment in life is what determines your reward in eternity. Let it not surprise you to learn that there will be minnows in heaven. Some will enter heaven as though through fire. Some will be poor here on earth and replicate the same when they stand before the Father in heaven. Being lazy, complacent, mediocre, and unfruitful might cost you heaven or even a more glorious place in heaven. Christ exchanged his riches for our poverty so that we might become rich: rich toward God, and rich toward our assignment. You have no reason as a Christian to keep your poverty. Poverty is not just defined by the lack of material things; it covers the spiritual, the mental, and the material. Remember the parable of the talents? The servant who received one talent and never used it was the only one who had nothing to show when the day of reckoning came. He preferred to remain poor. Consequently, the only thing he had to show on the day of reckoning was his poverty and indifference to his assignment. When others had made a one hundred percent profit, he had gained zero. Those that will dare to fulfill their assignments will enter heaven rulers in their own right. It is better to spend eternity in heaven than to be in hell. It is also better to be not so significant in heaven than to spend eternity in hell. But it is far more glorious to enter heaven a highly significant being.
In his life on earth, Jesus made some profound declarations about rewards: “Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven . . . ” (Matthew 5:12). “He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward. And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward” (Matthew 10:41-42).“Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven . . . ” (Luke 6:23).
In Jeremiah 31:16, you will also come across the following: “Thus saith the Lord; Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears: for thy work shall be rewarded, saith the Lord; and they shall come again from the land of the enemy.”
Rewards will always be commensurate with the extent to which you solve the problem you were created to solve. You could be the most prolific and the most successful footballer in your time and be under the erroneous impression that playing football was your God-given purpose. Being a footballer may not be your purpose, but it may certainly be the means to fulfilling your real purpose. The money you have probably made as a professional footballer must now empower you to take your rightful position as an extension of God’s arm and a custodian of God’s wealth to be a blessing to hundreds or even thousands of people. I believe it is high time pastors led their congregations to the point where they can begin to maximize their potential and fulfill their roles in destiny. The gospel is not just for you to be saved and to maintain your salvation. It is also a call to fulfilling the Master’s assignment. Read the parable of the talents carefully, and you will get the revelation.