Redefining Purpose


Last year, Christine attended a seminar in school in which the speakers conveyed the idea that a person who does not know his purpose is like a walking corpse. She then began to give serious thoughts to the issue of her purpose. She read several books, attended virtual and live conferences all of which promised to help her uncover her life assignment and live life to the fullest.

 Sadly, she soon became confused about this whole purpose thing because she could not find a generally accepted path to purpose discovery. One of the books she read stated that she only needed to identify her passion and begin to pursue it. The problem however, was that Christine could readily identify at least three things she was very passionate about. Another book she read said the key to unlocking her purpose was identifying her gift. The gift of a man makes room for him, the book emphasized. Again, Christine is a tremendously gifted individual so you can imagine her frustration when she could not just decipher her purpose based on her gifting.

 Then, she attended a conference in which the speaker spoke a lot about how her needs were too small to be the foremost preoccupation of her existence. The speaker identified some of the plenty problems of humanity that are screaming for solutions. But this was not very helpful either since Christine could readily identify two major issues that were serious problems in her environment. At this point, she began to ask whether there is really one specific purpose for each person. Can the philosophers who say human life has no purpose or significance, so each of us must create or derive meaning for our lives wherever and however we can find it be actually right?

 In the course of my work, I have met several people like Christine who have become confused because of the many truths available about purpose. From her story, we can identify three ways people usually define purpose: passion, gifts and needs. But like it is the case for Christine, any of these approaches to purpose is not a complete way to look at purpose. It would have been a lot easier if Christine could identify a need she was passionate about and which she finds she has been uniquely gifted to meet. But she could not. Frankly, most people can’t.

So, what I want to do very briefly is to redefine purpose. I am convinced that most people are yet to find their purpose because they really don’t know what they are looking for. Some others have become frustrated at what they thought they found as their purpose as they soon became dispassionate about the good cause they called purpose.

Simply put, purpose is the original intention of a creator for the creation. It is the idea that was conceived in the mind of a manufacturer that necessitated the creation of the product. Thus, while understanding your passions, gifts and the problems around are great steps in the direction of knowing your purpose, you will miss the real thing if you don’t first get connected to the Creator. This is the whole idea behind the manuals that come with products. The manufacturer is trying to communicate the identity, purpose, potential of the product to its user in order to avoid abuse or misuse.

Your passion can certainly be a pointer to your purpose, but it is not the same as your purpose. Your purpose is also beyond your gifts. In fact, I have met a couple of people whose purpose at first did not seem to give expression to any of their readily identifiable gifts. Your purpose is beyond meeting needs. Your purpose is the reason behind your existence. It is not your decision. It is your discovery.

God has a work he has been doing since the foundation of the world. He is colonizing the earth to make it look like Heaven first by reconciling all men to Himself by His grace through faith in the death and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ. You have a role in this global plan. This is your purpose and to find it you only need to be reconciled to Him and then let Him show you through His Manual why He put you here. It’s as simple as that.

Are you like Christine, confused and frustrated? Develop your relationship with God first and He’ll show you why you were made. Shalom!


Has this post blessed you? Do you have any questions about this definition of purpose? What are your thoughts about the story of Christine? Join the conversation, leave a comment!


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