About 10 years ago, I was reflecting on my work on the African continent, pretty smug in my evaluation of what I was doing there, which was pretty much preaching and teaching on purpose, consulting and meeting with people to help them be more purposeful and productive. While I was reflecting, this thought came across my mind (perhaps it was the Lord speaking to me): "You're nothing but a hired gun."
To understand what that meant, you will have to read on.
Up to that point in time, I pretty much went in Africa wherever I was invited to go. In most cases the people paid me who invited me and I think I provided good value and produced good results. As I meditated on the hired gun concept, I came to these conclusions:
- The Lord has given me a pretty massive ability to organize. I was not using that ability for anything but to speak and consult.
- The Lord has a heart for the poor. I was in some places that were infected with poverty and I was doing nothing to alleviate their pain.
- I was therefore to use my gift, which up to that point had only been for hire, to make a difference for the poor.
As I became comfortable that this was the correct interpretation for my "hired gun" thought, I began to make changes to what I was doing, especially in Kenya. What were those changes?
- I began to collect and ship books over to establish libraries. We are ready to send the next shipment of 22,000 volumes that will be distributed across the country. We have already set up eight libraries. When we ship, we also send shoes, supplies, and anything else that's donated to help the people. I organize the shipments and raise the money to send them over.
- I started to organize trips in 2009 to take others with me on missions tours. We visited orphanages, churches, and community groups with whom I had relationships. Five people have come home and started their own nonprofit organizations to continue working in Kenya.
- We have supported orphans as they go to boarding school and have helped others connect with these children by collecting and sending money on their behalf.
- I have written, consulted, and taught in places that could not afford to have me come.
There are other things I could mention, but this week, I simply wanted you to understand why I am doing some of what I do today as I fulfill my purpose. My purpose is never mine to do with what I want, but I must continue to submit it to the Lord and allow Him to direct and guide as He sees fit. What's more, my purpose is not just to be put out for hire by the highest our loudest bidder.
Are you expressing your purpose? Are you doing it in a way that is pleasing Him? Are you sensitive to His direction? As we approach a new year, it is a good time to seek the Lord and ask Him for fresh direction for your purpose. When I asked, God gave me a thought and expected me to develop it and apply my conclusions. If God helped me do it, I know He will help you as well. Have a blessed week!