The other day I was installing the window A/C units for the rooms in our upstairs bedrooms. Living in Virginia, A/C becomes quite a nice luxury come middle of June, if not earlier. So I had placed one of the units in the window and positioned it and all that was left to do was screw in the accordion side panels. As I began to screw the last panel to the window frame, I realized the wood prop I had placed under the unit slid out of place. The problem? I did not want to unscrew all the screws and remove the unit just to adjust the prop. However, I also did not have the proper tool (hammer) to get the prop back into position. So what did I do? The same thing every self-respecting, somewhat slothful, husband/handy man does–I used the multi-purpose tool I already had in hand…aka my screwdriver. So I flipped the screwdriver around and began to hammer on the prop until I got it back into place. But the problem was, with every hit of the prop the sharp end of the screwdriver was driving into my hand. Did I get the prop back into place? Sure! But, needless to say, I caused more pain than intended simply by using a tool for a purpose that it was not intended.
Do you ever feel like that in your life? As though you are not doing what you were purposed to do? Or as if what you intended to do is not what you find yourself doing? I think it ironic, that so many of our hurts and pains come from not doing (or better yet being) that for which we were purposed. So what is it that we are purposed to do? What is it that we are intended to be?
The apostle Paul would have well understood our heart in the question of purpose. And he gives us some clear direction in Acts 26:16-18. He recounts his conversion to Christ before King Agrippa, and as he gets to verse 16 he quotes Christ: “…for I have appeared to you for this purpose…” . During Paul’s “Roadway Realization” of Jesus Christ, he is given the very purpose for which God has chosen him. In other words, here Paul is given the purpose for which he was made and saved.
Christ goes on to tell Paul he was chosen for 2 main reasons: 1) to be saved and 2) to be sent. Acts 26:16 says Paul was given a revelation of Jesus Christ “to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me…”. So Christ purposed Paul to be saved. God appeared to Paul because He wanted to save him. Is this not the same reason why God reveals Himself to us (Gal. 1:3-4; Eph. 1:4-5)? Does not God desire all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim. 2:3-4)? Paul is an example of God’s ultimate purpose for our lives–that purpose being for us to be in a right relationship with Him (Genesis 1-3 – lost relationship; Luke 19:10 – seek and save).
But Christ did not end there. He did not tell Paul, “Since your are now back in a right relationship with me, you can sit around on your duff all day and enjoy life.” No! Christ tells Paul, “I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and WITNESS…” (Acts 26:16).
Jesus wanted Paul to be a witness and testimony to the Gentiles (vs. 17). Paul was saved by Christ to be sent by Christ. He was to go to the Gentiles in the hope that they might, “Turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me [Christ]” (vs. 18). Paul was not saved merely for his own good, although it was for his eternal good. Paul was saved to be sent for the good of others. Christ saved Paul to send him to others.
Is not that the purpose for which Christ saves each one of His disciples (Matt. 28:19-20; Acts 1:8)? Christ told His disciples plainly that their purpose on earth was to spread His good news–the good news that Jesus Christ is the only Savior of the world, that it is only by confession and belief in Him that one is saved (Rom. 10:9). Paul understood that when he wrote, “I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel…” (Phil. 1:12). The apostle recognized that Christ’s purpose in his life was to be saved and sent.
What about you and I? Do you daily recognize that your purpose is to be saved and to be sent? Are you seeking a purpose that you are not intended to fulfill? Don’t turn the screwdriver around and inflict pain on yourself trying to do things your way; rather, recognize that God wants to, can, or has saved you so that you may turn around and be sent by Him to proclaim the same message to others!