Nothing can be quite as challenging as dealing with the death of a loved one. It has a way of simultaneously testing us and putting life into perspective – fleeting, fragile. The sudden passing of a young man whom I deeply respect and admire reminded me of this fact and led to much reflection and introspection.
Nelson Mandela, lived amidst the turbulence of racial prejudice and injustice, yet he was able to forgive his oppressors and lead a life that inspired so many. The preceding quote always resonates with me and causes me to reflect on the way I lead my own life. What kind of life am I leading? Have I made a difference in anybody’s life? Do I inspire growth and change in others? Am I living a life as God would have me live? What can I do better? In what areas do I need to improve?
What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived! How are you living your life? Are you merely living? Or are you living a life of purpose? Are you living in such a way that you are making a difference in the lives of others?
What is purpose?
Purpose is defined as the reason for which something exists or was created.
To understand our purpose, it is important that we look first to our Creator and not the created. I believe with my whole heart that we were created for the purpose of serving God and humanity. We do both, by the life we lead. Each of us have been endowed with gifts and abilities which would allow us to fulfil our purpose. It is our responsibility to use those gifts and walk in our purpose. Our gifts were given to serve others – “as each has received a gift, use it to serve one another.” (See 1 Peter 4:10)
Have you been struggling with understanding your purpose? Go to the manufacturer; your Creator. I also recommend three books to help you gain clarity on the topic – The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren, Understanding your Potential by Myles Munroe and Maximizing your Potential by Myles Munroe.
Purpose Through Service
Unfortunately, we live in a world that does not place high value on service. This is sad, because there is nothing more noble than touching the life of another, through an act of service.
The greatest man ever lived, had the power to do whatever He liked. He could have presented Himself to humanity as a King, yet He chose to come as a babe – born in the humblest of ways. Most importantly, He chose to live a life in service to others. He died at the age of 33. Read about His life in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark Luke and John.
In what way have you been called to serve? To what purpose have you been called? Seek your Creator, examine yourself, explore your abilities, explore the gifts you possess, explore the abilities that come with ease, explore those things that bring you joy or that keep you up at night, explore the problems you would like to solve, seek the counsel of mentors and wise people in your life. Then decide on that one thing which you are convinced you were created to do and do it with passion.
The world needs you. Someone needs what you have to offer. It is not enough for you to merely live. You were created for something more. Keep in mind also that a continuous journey of self-growth and a good dose of self-awareness is also paramount to walking in your purpose.
One of my favorite quotes from Myles Munroe says, “the greatest tragedy in life is not death, but a life lived without purpose.” He teaches that we are all filled with endless potential, but while God is always looking for what is not visible, man is either satisfied with what he has or he thinks there is nothing better. As a result, so many die without exploring the gifts, abilities and successes that lay untapped within them. They die with their thoughts, ideas and possibilities unused, taking them to the grave.
My friend was an exemplary young man who truly made a difference in the lives of others. He did not merely live! He walked in his purpose, he touched lives, he lived with passion and fervor and everything he put his hand to do he did it well. He was a son, a brother a friend a leader, a mentor and most importantly a servant to God and humanity. He lived a life of service. One of the noblest things we can do is to serve others.
My challenge to you today is to live a purpose driven life. Those who live a purpose driven life find that they are happier and more confident. They find greater meaning in life. They expand their gifts and abilities and even discover some they were not aware they possessed. They grow and they flourish. They are the epitome of the tree, spoken of by the Psalmist. The tree that is planted by the rivers of water, who bears fruit in each season, does not wither and prospers in what they do. (See Psalm 1) This does not mean that they live a life free of challenges, but their attitude to those challenges is what sets them apart from others. They leave an example for others to follow and they inspire others to also live a purpose driven life.
Live the life you have been given! Live it well! Live it with purpose!