The most important thing about anything is its purpose. What we live for and what we would die for reveals our purpose. Purpose is simple but powerful. The purpose of basketball shoes is to protect ankles and feet, tap shoes would be terrible basketball shoes (I am sure that Lebron could still take me in tap shoes). Point is purpose reveals use and direction. The problem we all face is we lack value based purpose.
AW Tozer writes about the potential abuse of purpose (Tozer, Man- The Dwelling Place of God):
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS LATELY CARRIED an interesting if somewhat depressing story out of London about a certain British peer who had died just a few days short of his eighty-ninth birthday.
Having been a man of means and position, it had presumably not been necessary for him to work for a living like the rest of us, so at the time of his death he had had about seventy adult years in which he was free to do whatever he wanted to do, to pursue any calling he wished or to work at anything he felt worthy of his considerable abilities.
And what had he chosen to do? Well, according to the story, he had “devoted his life to trying to breed the perfect spotted mouse.”
Now, I grant every man the right to breed spotted mice if he wants to and can get the cooperation of the mice, and I freely admit that it is his business and not mine. Not being a mouse lover (nor a mouse hater for that matter; I am just neutral about mice), I do not know but that a spotted mouse might be more useful and make a more affectionate pet than a common mouse colored mouse. But still I am troubled.
The mouse breeder in question was a lord, and I was born on a farm in the hill country of Pennsylvania, but since a cat can look at a king I suppose a farm boy can look at a lord, even look at him with disapproval if the circumstances warrant. Anyway, a man’s a man for a’ that, and I feel a certain kinship for every man born of woman; so I cannot but grieve for my brother beyond the seas.
Made in the image of God, equipped with awesome powers of mind and soul, called to dream immortal dreams and to think the long thoughts of eternity, he chooses the breeding of a spotted mouse as his reason for existing. Invited to walk with God on earth and to dwell at last with the saints and angels in the world above; called to serve his generation by the will of God, to press with holy vigor toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus, he dedicates his life to the spotted mouse not just evenings or holidays, mind you, but his entire life.
According to Psalm 90:10, “The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away.” According to USA Today in 2012 life expectancy in America was at an all time high at 78.74 years. It is 81.50 in the United Kingdom, lucky them right? The Psalmist seems to think that the average life is filled with toil and trouble. While that might be true for outside circumstances, it doesn’t have to be that way internally. The problem we all face is an exaggerated culture of over-productivity and over-stuffed calendars of busy people who feel guilty when they relax. Do you feel guilty when you relax?
The most important question is not whether we have purpose but do we have the right purpose. Having the right purpose is a question of values. Time and value go hand in hand for the most part. A man can have a dead end job but because he values his family he will invest the time in order to continue to get paid. My next post will be focused on considering where and how we spend our time, you will be amazed really.