Purpose / Responsibility

Warning: Christian Musings

Purpose; have you ever stopped to wonder what your true purpose is? Dr. Myles Munroe in one of his books states that ‘the purpose of something determines its nature (or design), and the nature or design of something determines its needs’. The concept may be challenging to understand and apply to one’s life, but it does make sense.  For instance the purpose of an oven is to cook food with heat. Therefore ovens are designed with large cavities to hold uncooked food and trap heat (nature). And because they are designed to trap heat, they will need a fuel source to generate this heat in order to serve its purpose – which is to cook the food we put in them. What this means is that we are naturally designed to serve our ­one true purpose, but we need a particular set of resources in order to achieve and/or live up to that purpose.

Proverbs 19:21 – “Many are the plans of man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”

According to Proverbs 19:21, the Lord’s purpose for us will prevail in the end. What that purpose is for each person may be unknown in most cases. However, we must firstly respond or say ‘yes’ to Him in order for that purpose to be revealed. That being said, we can see how one of our primary purpose is to turn to God and answer to His call. Andi Andrew, author of ‘She Is Free’ wrote a blog entitled ‘Responsibility = Your Ability to Respond’, and the heading speaks for itself.

The word ‘responsibility’ comes from the Latin root word ‘responsabilis’, which means “to respond” / “answer to” / “promise in return” / “to pledge”.  It maintains a sense of obligation and accountability for one’s actions, while speaking to ‘your ability to respond’. As Christians we are asked to respond to God’s call, yet we fail to recognize that our ability to respond is our responsibility. How many of us (Christians) can boast that we are taking up the responsibility of answering God’s call on our lives? Not many of us can say that, and as a result achieving our true purpose may be hindered.

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It makes you wonder why it is so difficult to take up this responsibility. Perhaps it stems from the lack of practice. We are not practicing responsibility (to respond) in the real world among those who may depend on us. A simple act of charity, which is not only about donating money or meals, is about showing love. “Love” stemming from the Biblical definition of the Greek word agape, means ‘the highest form of love, charity’. “Love” as defined in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (“Love is patient, love is kind / is not proud / it is not self-seeking”), implies that charity is also about being patient, kind and selfless towards your fellow man.

Our responsibility may also be to those who hold us accountable; even for the smallest matters. And when I say the ‘smallest matters’, I am referring to those things (or commitments) that might not seem very important to you, but it is high on someone else’s priority list. You might be wondering how honouring promises in the real world could be equivalent to answering God’s call. The answer lies in recognising Christ in others and responding to Him in them. Matthew 25:40, 45 describes this –

Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

The two scriptures above (1 Cor. 13:4-8 and Matt. 25:40, 45) both give simple instructions on how we should respond to others, and by extension respond to God’s call on our lives. They are essentially stepping stones into our ‘responsibility and purpose’ as Christians. Every day we have the opportunity to practice responsibility because we are constantly presented with chances to exercise our ability to respond. So why not step up to the plate? Take responsibility and discover your purpose.

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