I continue with holiday Memos from the archives this week, this one last published in 2011. While this Memo is from the archives, the needs of this ministry are not - they are real and they are current. I noticed the other day that Wikipedia, the online free encyclopedia, asks everyone to give $3 if they have benefitted from using the service. It made me think that if the Monday Memo has blessed you this year or over the years, then it's time for you to contribute to it's publishing. I need your help like never before. You can give before year end using PayPal or by sending a tax-deductible check to PurposeQuest at the address below. And also, please remember our Kenyan orphans and widows as the year ends as well. Thank you and Merry Christmas!
I receive many emails every year asking how to find purpose. Many say they have "no idea" what their purpose is and ask me for help. While I respond as best I can, after all these years I know that I cannot help anyone see his or her purpose. I know the One who can, however, and how He does it is similar to the story of the shepherds at Christmas, something I call daylight on the night shift. Read on to see what I mean.
THE NIGHT SHIFT
The shepherds in the Christmas story were working the night shift, doing what they and their ancestors had done for centuries. They went to work that night without any thought that anything extraordinary was about to happen. On the night Jesus was born, they were tending their flocks on the hillsides outside Bethlehem, minding their own business. Suddenly God sent them messengers, who brought great light to the night shift:
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests." When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about." So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. (Luke 2:8-16).
These shepherds were doing what they knew to do at that time in their life and God interrupted them with a special news report. This both scared and thrilled them. That's how it is when you find your life purpose. Often you are doing what you know to do at the time, usually a job or role that is less than fulfilling. Suddenly God, the Great Communicator, breaks into your conscious being and brings a message of purpose, of what He has always wanted you to do. That not only terrifies you but also gives you a desire to clarify and fulfill it.
That night the shepherds went to work like any other day. God spoke to them, however, and they were never the same. They started by sitting on a hillside in cold weather; they ended by finding a great treasure in Bethlehem, a treasure that had not been revealed to anyone else but them.
Maybe you have been in a desperate search for your purpose and its expression. As we end this year, I suggest that you be encouraged as you remember the shepherds. Finding your purpose doesn't depend on your diligence; it depends on God's grace. Yes, you must search for your purpose, but only God can reveal it to you. It may be one cold, dark night when you go about your business like countless other nights. At that point, God may send His messenger and change your life forever. I don't know when or how He will do it, I just know He will.
Therefore, have faith and relax this holiday season. Keep asking God to help you understand who you are and what you were born to do and, after that, trust Him. You may even want to thank Him for your purpose whether or not you understand what it is. He wants you to fulfill your purpose more than you do. He will show you in the fullness of time, bring you daylight even if you are working the night shift. When He does, you will join with the shepherds as laborers who found more than business as usual one night when they went to work. May the God of purpose speak to you soon and may you have the courage to believe what He says! Here's wishing you and yours a happy holiday season! Merry Christmas!
I NEED YOUR HELP: As mentioned above,I have documented over the last several weeks my need for your help as I write, coach, travel, help orphans and widows, publish and broadcast the world over. Some of what I do is for pay, but much of it is by faith. I am asking you to stand with me financially as the year ends and during 2015. You can give using PayPal or by sending a tax-deductible check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA 15221-0882. Thank you for helping me help so many.
THE ORPHANS NEED YOUR HELP: You know that I am committed to help the widows and orphans in Kenya as God allows. I posted an appeal for funds to help our orphans go to school last week, explaining why this is not a luxury but rather a necessity. Take the time to read that update and then also help the orphans with a year end gift. Once again, you can give online or by sending a check to the address mentioned above.