Last week, the column challenged you to start reading the Bible every day. Are you going to read the Bible every day during the month of October? I hope many of you have taken up the challenge and read every day so far. If not, join us on this journey and start today.
You can choose to take up the challenge by reading a good portion of the scriptures each day. Start at the beginning of Mathew in the New Testament. If you read 4 chapters a day, you will read all the Gospels and the book of Acts in October. The average reader could read four chapters in 20 minutes.
If you don’t have much time, but still want to participate, you can read one verse a day. A verse for each day of the week is found in the Church directory for this month. Read the big verse of the day for Saturday, then on the side panel you will see a verse for the rest of the days until next Saturday. You could easily read these verses in about a minute.
Next Saturday there will be an online survey for you to find out about some of your Bible reading habits. There will be a QR code on the church directory and I will list that web address here in the column. Please complete the survey. This will help me know how many of you are reading and participating in our journey.
We started thinking about some of the benefits of regular Bible reading. We talked a bit last week about the importance of having a spiritual perspective. Scripture helps build this foundation.
This week we want to reflect on how the Bible helps us understand our purpose in life. Many researchers link having a purpose in life to physical, emotional and mental health. The Bible helps us define purpose and an understanding of the bigger picture.
Anthony Burrow, professor of human development at Cornell University, stresses the importance of having a purpose. “Goal is a forward-looking directionality, an intention to do something in the world. It’s different from a goal, which can be achieved. Wanting to be a father is a goal, but being a good father is more an intention Some days you can get closer to the ideal than others.
Stanford psychologist William Damon and his colleagues define purpose as “a stable, generalized intention to accomplish something that has both meaning for oneself and consequences for the world beyond oneself.”
Rick Warren, pastor and author of The Purpose Driven Life, talks about five purposes we are all created for. The ministries of Saddleback Church in California are built around the goals of worship, fellowship, spiritual maturity, ministry or service, and mission. These goals answer life’s most basic questions: why am I here, does my life matter, and what should I do with my life?
Jesus helped us focus and understand our purpose when He talked about the greatest commandments. He said, “You should love your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. You must also love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:28-30). Jesus gives us inspiring words to guide our focus.
A local minister described loving God with his whole being as being “totally sold to God”. Those words sound good, but we really don’t do everything for a lot of things. Many of us come close to this in our feelings for our children. We are ready to do anything to protect them and help them succeed.
We must also love others as we love ourselves. Most of us are pretty self-centered. We look after our interests first. We see the behavior of others in terms of its impact on our lives. We need to move beyond this feeling and elevate the importance of others on our scale of priorities. How can I serve you better?
The most important service we can render to others is to inform them of God’s plans and purposes. God’s truth is both practical and passionate. Having an understanding of God and his ways helps you become a better person. The Bible provides a basis for the development of behavior and character.
But the truth of God is passionate. His love for you is total. The feelings run deep enough that He wants to pursue you and be a part of securing your salvation. Forgiveness and a future is certainly good news. He wants you to be passionate about sharing this good news with the people you influence – your family and friends.
Paul puts it this way. “God put the world in its place through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given each of us the task of telling each one what he is doing. We are the representatives of Christ. God uses us to persuade men and women to let go of their differences and enter into the work of God to make things right between them” (2 Corinthians 5:16-20 MESSAGE).
The Message says that we are the representatives of Christ. Some translations use the word “ambassadors”. We cannot truly understand our purpose unless we understand the analogy of being God’s ambassadors.
An ambassador is someone appointed by the political process to represent their home government before the leaders and people of another country. They are sent to a foreign country to live within its borders but to be in a building that belongs to and represents the home nation. It is important for the ambassador to understand and articulate the policies and procedures of the government they represent.
We are God’s ambassadors. Can there be a higher calling or purpose?