Seth, I adore this post and adored to share it with friends. Simplicity, brother. Simple and profound and surprisingly needed again and again.
I’d like to ask you a question that, while foundational to our lives, we often fail to ask and answer: Why are you alive?
Many of us are motivated to get a better job or do more good works. But let me clue you in on a secret: your primary purpose on earth is not to do good works.
The Westminster Confession states that “the chief end of man is to glorify God.” 1 Cor. 10:31 says, “whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
But I’d like to suggest to you that this emphasis on doing starts in the wrong place and often leaves us feeling inadequate because we didn’t do enough.
Let’s start instead with God and the fact that he loves us (a theme you see throughout the Bible). He loves us! In fact, we were born to be loved. Our primary responsibility does not involve doing, but being.
If you follow Jesus, your purpose is to receive his love and then reflect it back to him and to others. And yes, in doing so, we glorify God.
We reflect the love we receive
The point is that we can’t reflect his love unless we experience its reality. Anything else emanates from obligation and duty. It results in dry religion and ultimately in a judgmental spirit when people fail in their duty.
We were born to be with our Father God and to bring others into his presence. He reconciles us in our broken state to himself and asks us to invite others to the party.
When we feel his love and reflect his love to others, we embrace what he calls “the ministry of reconciliation.”
Maybe that sounds like evangelism to you. The word “evangelism” sticks in a lot of people’s throats like a bone. They equate the term to acting like a kind of a religious used car salesman in a cheap suit.
My guess is that if we really felt loved and understood how so many people feel, it would be much easier to embrace the ministry of reconciliation.
Perhaps you’ve never experienced the sense of utter despair that comes when you feel abandoned by God. Perhaps you’ve forgotten what it was like to feel God’s embrace for the first time. People all over the earth feel ugly, forgotten, and estranged from God.
The Bible calls them “children of wrath,” and that’s how they feel – at odds with themselves and the God who made them, living in a scarred and forgotten place.
Listen to a missionary friend of mine describing the Islamic culture in which she works, “The legalistic religion dictates that every aspect of culture turns their lives into little more than an empty performance of religious acts from cradle to grave. The streets teem with the various categories of the hopeless. The sense of oppression is thick.”
As a follower of Jesus, your purpose is a noble one. You are called to partner with God to help people realize their belovedness, to see a God who is lovesick and wants to woo them back to himself (2 Cor. 5:11-21).
It’s the task of setting things right, of restoring the natural order to things – orphans brought into a family, parched lips feeling the refreshment of a cool drink, lonely hearts feeling the glow of companionship.
You are a treasure
Jesus described his kingdom as a place where lost things are found (Luke 15). When we’re that lost thing and he finds us, we realize the treasure we are in his eyes. And we get to join him in helping others to see themselves that way too.
It’s an incredible thing to partner with God. It’s wonderful to help a person see that God loves them. I am so thankful that God loves me. Reflecting that love to you and to those I encounter in life is God’s grace working in me.
If you’ve really experienced this love of God, it may have been the high point of your life. To join with God in helping others experience his love is a privilege that we we need to grasp. It’s a purpose to which we are loved into embracing.
If this connects with you, let me encourage you to watch this short video by Andrew Shearman on the subject.
The healing truth the world needs to hear!
Thanks, Rhonda. Yes, the Gospel is simple, “Jesus loves me, this I know…”
The fight is normal – it comes with the territory, the territory we take from the enemy!
Thanks, Seth. I needed this tonight. I had a really rough day at work. Two different people gave my management team feedback against me. (One including the written statement, “I won’t recommend this place while Katie still works here.”) My leadership team asked for my side of the story, made sure I was ok, and shrugged it off. My heart’s not so easy to convince. I was looking for something to cheer me up and found this still open on my computer (I read the blog yesterday but hadn’t watched the video yet). It helped. 🙂
Thanks, Seth. I actually went to edit or delete my comment last night (turns out there’s no way to do that) because the whole thing seemed petty. With the absurd feedback, my team knew either I was having a bad day (true; I won’t claim innocence) or someone else was taking their bad day out on me (also true). In both cases, the enemy was winning. And he’s less than thrilled about the too-beautiful-for-words kingdom moments I’ve had a work lately.
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