It's up and running! My new and revised website is open for business and it has a lot of new features that I know you will enjoy and find useful. More on that later and you can also look for a special Memo out in a few days outlining the new features of the site.
PAUL'S PURPOSE AND WORK
In the meantime, the last few weeks we have studied Paul's life and purpose. Paul's purpose was to bring the gospel of Christ to the Gentile world. We know that because his "call" on the Damascus road has a prominent place in the book of Acts. In fact, Paul referred to his purpose in each of his letters (see if you can find them if you’re interested), usually relating his purpose to an Old Testament passage. When Paul talked about himself, he referred to his purpose, yet that purpose wasn't his occupation.
To earn a living, Paul made tents. Yet Paul never talked or wrote about his occupation. The only way we know that Paul made tents was that Luke wrote about it in the book of Acts. Don't you find it interesting that Paul never referred to making tents? That was what he did, but it wasn't who he was. He was an apostle to the Gentiles and that is what got the choice place in his heart, time, efforts and writings. (Paul returned the favor. Nowhere did Luke ever mention that he was a doctor; Paul told us that in Colossians 4:14. Obviously Luke learned from his mentor the difference between purpose and occupation.)
WHO ARE YOU?
I am not asking what you do. You may sell insurance, but who are you? You may also be a missionary to some people group, while insurance pays the bills. When people ask you what you do, like I just did, how do you respond? Do you say that you're an insurance salesperson or a missionary? If you answer the salesperson, then you are defining yourself by what you do. If you say missionary, you are focusing on purpose and not on what buys your food. You may only get to the mission field once a year on your vacation time, but the other weeks you're praying and working for that mission. You don't have to quit your occupation to embrace your purpose. You may simply need to distinguish between the two.
Os Guinness wrote the following paragraph in his book, Entrepreneurs of Life (since he uses the words "calling" and "vocation" instead of purpose, I have taken the liberty of inserting the word "purpose" where appropriate):
Calling [purpose] helps us finish [our lives] well because it prevents us from confusing the termination of our occupations with the termination of our vocations [purpose]. If we ever limit our calling [purpose] to what we do, and that task is taken away from us--we suddenly find ourselves unemployed, retired, or pronounced terminally ill--then we are tempted to depression and doubt. What has happened? We have let our occupation become so intertwined with our vocation [purpose] that losing the occupation means losing the sense of vocation [purpose] too.
Have you either not found or lost your sense of purpose? Then perhaps you have confused the difference between what you do and who you are (parents and spouses included). I would suggest you take this week to reflect on this important distinction. No longer be content to define your life in terms of what you do but rather who you are. It will make all the difference in the world. Have a great week!
SPECIAL NOTICE: Don't miss the upcoming broadcast of my radio show, Your PurposeQuest: The Power of a Focused Life, this coming Wednesday, June 25 at 9 AM Eastern time on the Voice America network. You don't need any special equipment or software. Just go to their website and click on their flagship station and I will be on for a live broadcast. The show will air at 2 PM in the UK, 3 PM in Zimbabwe and South Africa, 4 PM in Kenya and 9 PM in Singapore. Then it will be broadcast again 12 hours later, and after that it can be listened to or downloaded from the archive section. The show airs every Wednesday at the same time.
You can download and listen to the first three shows by going to station's archives.
Feel free to email me your questions for the show, or you can call me when the show is live at 1.866.472.5787. Here is a description of the next show:
Episode Seven: Purpose in the Military
Your purpose can be applied to any area of life, as you will learn when you join John Stanko and his special guest, Dr. Jim Coy, on the next edition of Your PurposeQuest. Dr. Coy is an author, speaker and leader who has developed a outreach to military personnel, having served as a doctor in the U.S. Army. Join John and Dr. Coy as they discuss purpose from the unique perspective of serving in the military and what Dr. Coy is doing today to further his own PurposeQuest.