Today I went to church. Yes I go regularly, and to what extent they will allow me, I am involved. Something that has been gnawing at me for some time is this matter of purpose. I know there is the age old debate, Armenianism vs. Calvanism. Is it decided for us by God (predestine), or do we make a choice? I think it's both. I think we have to choose God and I also think that God chooses us and initiates the relationship. When Jesus said that He wanted all men to be saved, I believe it. When they don't all get saved, I can't possibly believe that God would just make it so a select few would get the brass ring. How many chances do we need to get our hearts right? What happens when we run out of chances? I feel exactly the same way when it comes to purpose.
Now, back to purpose. Rick Warren wrote a few books about it, but I honestly think it is much deeper then what he covered. I am not saying that he is shallow, but I think deep down, really deep down, we need to touch the essence of our own DNA. If we are created for God's good pleasure and he delights in us, then we should be happy with that. Personally I don't find waiting a lifetime for eternity very exciting. If we look at our human purpose, we can see the impact that we have on the lives of others; both negative and positive. If our purpose is spiritual (supernatural), not like ladling soup for lunch, but something that only God can do through us, then many of us have a problem.
Here is the problem for me. Having a talent (the natural ability to do something which others cannot in the physical realm.) or gift (the supernatural ability to do something by being a vessel for God.) to share with others is not the issue for me. I am mediocre at a lot of things such as programming, playing guitar, graphic design, writing and being a dad. I work hard at them all, but there are others that can out perform me in a heartbeat. When it comes to gifts God has made me able to see things in the spirit; which no one can do with out a spiritual gift. Now there are others that can out perform me in this arena too. The difference is that I can't do it, and God does it through me. So, therefore; I can't really claim that it is something that I can do. As I have said many times, I am more amazed then the recipient. I KNOW I can't do it without God. That is the difference between a gift and a talent. I see a lot of talent in the church, but not always a lot of gifting. Gifting take obedience to the Holy Spirit, and you just can't fake that.
Now, back to purpose. Our purpose is not to have a talent or gift to share with the body; we all have them to some degree. You may read 1 Corinthians chapters 12-14 if you want to know more about spiritual gifts. Our main purpose is to please God... a very nice Christian sentiment. Purpose is the life target we are trying to hit while using our gifts and talents. Having purpose can come from a combination of gifting, talent, circumstance and anointing. It is the thing that makes us unique in this life and I suspect the next.
If purpose is the target (vision for the moment or the future), then gifting and talent is the ability to fulfill our purpose. Calling is the knowing-ness that God has work for us to do and anointing is God's fingerprint on the work, making it bear fruit. And faith, well that's believing that it is God in the first place. I have seen lots of Christians doing what they are good at, not what they are gifted at. To have purpose we need to do the God thing, not the good thing. What I long for is an opening in everyday life to get in there and do something that has purpose and bears fruit for the kingdom...to partner with God doing somethng that He is good at and maybe I'm not.