School has started for some and for others it is right around the corner. That means fall and the changing of seasons is close. My favorite part of this time of year is the beginning of football season. I have always loved football. I love that it takes 11 players, on the same page, and playing from the same playbook to make it work. When all of those 11 players are focused and know their purpose on every play, that is when you rely on each other, fulfill your purpose, and everyone wins.
Now imagine what would happen if no one knew what their purpose was? What would it look like if all 11 players broke the huddle and thought that being the quarterback was their purpose? What would it look like if the team simply stayed in the huddle, never knowing their purpose, and never ran a play?
I believe that over time the church has become a football team that does not know its purpose and has not broken their huddle. They meet on Sunday mornings and they are content in their huddle. They are content with the coach’s pep talk and preparation. Unfortunately, that is now what God has called the church to be.
1 Peter 2: 9-11. “But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. “Once you had no identity as a people; now you are God’s people. Once you received no mercy; now you have received God’s mercy.” Dear friends, I warn you as “temporary residents and foreigners” to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls.”
Young people are finding themselves more and more engaged in their social media and their devices more than they are engaged in the world. They are finding their purpose and value in their posting and whether or not they are getting likes in a world that only exists in their phones. Adults are not much better. The church is not much better.
A question that I often ask is “what is your purpose”, “what is God calling you to do”? Often times this is met with a blank stare and a wonder of what that all means. What this means is, what are you gifted and talented in, and how can you use those gifts and talents to make a positive impact in the world around you? When you take the time to answer and analyze these questions in your life you find out what it is that brings your soul peace. Imagine feeling like you should be a wide receiver your whole life because someone has been telling you that you are, but your skills and talents are that of an offensive lineman? Imagine if you feel like you are the world’s greatest carpenter but you have the skills and talents to be the world’s greatest baker?
It is a complete injustice on our own part to ignore our purpose to simply exist in something that is not where our purpose lies. As we begin our school year take the time to tell your children, and also yourself, that your purpose matters.
This applies to all areas of our lives and even includes the church. Christ came to redeem the lost and left us with two commands. Love God and love others! When we are attempting to do this outside of our purpose, we will find ourselves defeated and lost and our impact on the world and our own happiness will pay the price. When we take the time to deliberate ask God and seek what our purpose is, then we will begin to see the change in our own life and the fruits of that life will impact our world in a positive way!
The writer is the pastor for Maplewood and DeGraff United Methodist Churches.