Continuing on with our theme of identity for this week, today we will talk about purpose, of which there are two kinds: collective and individual.
Having a collective purpose means that we all work together to achieve a common goal. In relation to God, our collective purpose is to evangelize and make disciples of all nations as Matthew 28:18-20 tells us. We also have the responsibility of serving others (1st Peter 4:10-11), and both of these things apply to brothers and sisters in Christ and those outside of our faith.
Let’s discuss some practical examples of how we can love God and love people while striving to make disciples and further the Kingdom:
Most importantly, we are to love each other! (1st Corinthians 13:2, 1st Corinthians 16:14, John 13:34-35). We are also instructed to gather together in fellowship (Acts 2:41; Matthew 18:20). Additionally, we must confess our sins and hold each other accountable (James 5:16, Proverbs 27:17). Finally, Galatians 6 tells us to bear each other’s burdens, lovingly correct those who are struggling with sin and to work for the good of all.
In Jeremiah 1, we find a beautiful example of individual purpose. Let’s look at verses 4-8:
4 The word of the Lord came to me, saying, 5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born, I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” 6 “Alas, Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.” 7 But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. 8 Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord.
Jeremiah’s individual purpose was to be a prophet and be a vessel for God to speak through, though there are many examples of individual purpose in the Bible. We have the Apostles. We have John the Baptist. We have Jesus himself! All of these people had a different individual purpose, but their unique purpose all worked toward the common purpose of furthering the Kingdom. Just like Jeremiah who was chosen, set apart, and appointed before he was even born, God created us with the same intention. Just like He did for Jeremiah, God will be here guiding our steps as we fulfill whatever He has called us to.
Maybe you don’t know what your individual purpose is yet, and that’s okay. But if you continuously trust in God’s plan for your life, you will find out what your purpose is in His timing. However, I challenge you this week to ponder and pray about how you have seen God’s love displayed in your community and/or how people have ministered to you. I also encourage you to seek God’s guidance about what you can do in your personal life to show His love to others in the spirit of bringing our Father’s lost children back to Him.