Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: The Writer’s Skill/Craft (04/22/10)
TITLE: Means or Purpose?
By David Pendleton
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God’s creation was built with purpose. Every animal and plant was created to fulfill a purpose. Some of the purposes are complex and some may seem very simple. Some are so strange to us that we don’t even know what the purpose is. However, when we can see the created in action it shows that there is purpose to its creation.
Let’s take a look at some examples in the plant kingdom. Tomatoes are a common plant in almost everyone’s garden. We grow tomatoes so that we have tomatoes to eat. I know this seems simplistic. Many people would say that a tomatoes purpose is to propagate itself and it does this by having its fruit eaten and scattered through the waste of the creatures that eat it. I think that its means of propagation is actually the method it uses to fulfill its purpose which is to bear fruit which is pleasurable to eat. It is so often that we confuse means with purpose.
Writers write. Their purpose is not to write, that is the means by which they try to achieve their purpose. Their purpose may be to evoke emotions such as laughter, fear, curiosity, or romance. Their purpose may be to educate, illustrate, or report. Their means is to use words as skillfully as possible to achieve their purpose.
Teachers are meant to teach right? Well that is their method, their means but can a teacher force a student to learn? I do not think so. So a teacher’s purpose is to make the student want to learn. Sometimes this is accomplished through goal setting such as jobs and money, sometimes by making the subject more interesting and fun, and sometimes it is through fear of failure. There are many treatises on effective teaching but the goal remains to get the student to learn.
It is a happy man who finds a purpose to pursue and a means to pursue it that is enjoyable. Someone who loves to write will be happier pursuing a purpose through writing than someone who is good at writing but whose goal is not the purpose of writing but a different purpose such as making money. Extremely lucky is the person who loves the method to reach the goal and also fulfills secondary goals like earning a living and providing for their family. I praise God daily that I believe myself to be one of those lucky individuals.
So what is the purpose of a Christian? Are we here to read the Bible? Pray to God? Praise God? Are these the purpose or are they the means? I think that they are the means. To discuss the purpose of the Christian we must first determine what the purpose of the sacrifice of Christ was. Did He give up heaven, come as a man, live a sinless life, and die on the cross so we would not face eternal death? I don’t believe that. I believe that the purpose of Christ was to restore relationship between God and man. That must be the purpose of the Christian. The means is study, prayer, praise and worship. The goal, the purpose must be to increase and deepen our relationship with God. The Great Commission does not tell us to go and convert a bunch of strangers. It says to go and tell the good news and make disciples. I believe that evangelism, revival, and witnessing are means. The goal must be relationship. If you use relationship with others then you have a much better chance of fulfilling the true goal of the great commission and that is leading them to a restoration of relationship with God.
Whatever your means, writing, teaching, flipping burgers, or collecting garbage if you pursue relationships to bring others, and yourself, into a greater relationship with God then I believe, I truly believe, that you are fulfilling the purpose of a Christian.
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