May 20, 2021

Keeping focused on your purpose

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Distraction of comparison

In the last post, we looked at how to find and understand our purpose, or our life’s assignment. However, even once we understand our assignment, we can get distracted. One of the largest distractions is a comparison to those around us. As we all have been called to different assignments, the journey and result will look different for each person.

As an example, let’s look at three men from the New Testament: Paul, Philip and James. All three were called to share the Gospel of Christ and became major figures in the early Christian movement, but all had different assignments.

Paul’s clear assignment was to take the gospel to the Gentiles. He planted many churches, and wrote letters of encouragement and exhortation, many of which are included in the New Testament.

Philip, the Evangelist, began his journey after he witnessed his friend Stephen’s stoning. He is only mentioned a few times in the New Testament, most notably in Acts 8, where he met and baptized an Ethiopian eunuch. This was the beginning of the Ethiopian church. Philip may not have been an author or a church-planter, and he never reached the fame of Paul, but his role was no less significant.

And of course, James, the brother of John, whose assignment was to lose his head… certainly the worst assignment, but it was nonetheless effective in spreading awareness of Christianity! (James was the first of the twelve to be martyred. He was killed with the sword by order of King Herod Agrippa I of Judea, about 44 A.D.)

Success comes from our assignment

We shouldn’t compare these men with one another: while they all spread the Gospel of Christ, each worked and was successful in his own way.

So, what does success look like in our own lives? Culture would have us see success as things like the amount of money we earn, the car we drive, the house we live in, vacations we take, the qualifications we hold… The truth is that our real success comes from being on the journey to accomplish our individual assignment.

Reflection Questions:

  • What do you value? What is important to you? What’s your assignment?
  • How can you increase your energy and engagement in this assignment?
  • Where do you find yourself comparing your assignment to that of others?

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