When God called Abram (elevated father) to leave country, kindred, and his father’s house unto a land that God would show him, Abram never saw the land nor did God go into detail as to what this land was like. This wasn’t like the great traverse from the East towards the West in the early days of America. In that period of time those who traveled and forsook life in the East had heard the stories of the great open spaces, prospects of success, and the ability to own your own piece of the world for yourself.
In the case of Abram the call was attached to a purpose. God will never call a man without a declaration of purpose. When Abram responded to the call of God I will submit that he responded to purpose rather than the concept of possession. The only land that Abram would ever posses by natural rights was a graveyard to bury his wife. When God declared, “walk the length and breadth of the land, in any direction,” Abram was not a prospector seeking a place to plant, develop, and enlarge. Abram was not seeking to lay claim, erect boundaries, and establish ownership. Instead, as the writer of Hebrews declared, “he was looking for a city which hath foundations whose builder and maker is God.”
Herein presents a millstone that hangs around the necks of so many men. We define and celebrate progress within purpose by memorializing ministerial milestones. Please don’t get me wrong because I believe that honor is due but I present that if we are not careful we can easily pass the true paths of purpose by diverting to paths of personal prowess and progress. Because of this we judge men based upon memorials, milestones, and monuments. We then celebrate numerical increase when often times the numerical increase does not reflect spiritual increase (growth).
When Abram entered into a form of covenant with God after 25 years of traveling nobody was there to celebrate. Abram didn’t have all the big-wigs and big-shots of the community show up and celebrate his progress. I personally believe in the mind of Abram, who at this point would become Abraham, that he died as a man that never saw the realization of his purpose. Please understand, I am not against celebrating milestones, but I will submit that humanity has presented this idea of vacating the vehicle of purpose once we have reached a certain mileage.
Men have begun to work towards the goal of “retirement,” in ministry. You retire from a sales position. You retire from management. You retire from earthly things, but there is not “retirement” from spiritual purpose! It is for this reason I believe so many men who are esteemed great in the confines of the spirit are seemingly taken too early in life. How many times have we shaken our head in unbelief when a great man is taken from us suddenly? We think to ourselves, look at what more they could have done for the Kingdom of God. The simplicity of the matter is that in most cases they fulfilled their purpose!
When John the Baptist came out of the wilderness ranting and raving about repentance and the One who would come after him that was greater; this was his purpose. His purpose was to prepare the way. He was a road builder, a trail blazer, and a reconciler. Where was his great celebration service? Where was his monument, chiseled brick, or milestone erected? It wasn’t! Instead, he sat in the dark, fetid, and dismal dungeon of a narcissistic king. His final words recorded in the scriptures as he worried about his own disciples: “Are thou He that should come or should we look for another?”
I personally believe that a jailbreak would have ensued had Jesus responded in any other fashion that left room for doubt. Men will seldom die for death’s sake alone but men will die that recognize the power of purpose and their position within that purpose. “Somebody tell John,” Jesus responded. Tell him what?
Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached.
This was enough for John. He didn’t need any appreciation. He didn’t need a party. He didn’t need a monument or a memorialization for his service. His purpose had been fulfilled. He had prepared a way to the Way Maker. He had brought the world to the threshold that met the Door. He wasn’t thinking about his failure to be recognized by all his peers but rather he was satisfied that his ministry caused them to recognize the Christ.
Peter preached one of the greatest messages of all time and witnessed more than you and I will probably ever see in our lifetime. He was a mover and a shaker. His retirement was quite a big shindig! “Could I make just one request please,” Peter asked the executioners as they stared at the course and rugged cross before them. “Sure, but make it quick,” they responded. “Could I please get crucified upside down since I am far less worthy than my Master who was crucified erect?”
Oh the decrease of men that God increased! The meekness and the humility and the pleasure they showed at just being able to say that God had used them! Never did we hear, “look at what I built or what I have done,” but rather we saw the simplicity of a thankful heart that the God of all creation would select them to fulfill a certain divine purpose for the greatest Kingdom in all the universe.
Purpose! Purpose! Purpose! I pray that this rings again and again within the proverbial hearing of those who read this humble treatise! Men are getting upset because they are not preaching the big meetings. Men are upset because they are not being recognized. Men are getting upset because nobody showed up for their 30th milestone. Men are getting upset because they weren’t sent on a cruise like other men. What is our purpose? Why did God call us?
Verbal Bean…how tragic do lose your life at such a young age! But OH WHAT AN IMPACT YOU MADE and are still making far beyond that point in which you left us! I very much doubt you would regret that day now. I doubt you would ask God to return and live beyond your purpose. You fought the good fight of faith, you endured, you ministered, you were a champion! So what that he never had the opportunity to retire, buy some four wheelers, build a big house, and travel the world and enjoy the luxuries of physical life!
Hezekiah…Don’t do it! Don’t ask for more time! You have rebuilt walls, dug wells, fortified cities, enlarged the armies, dug out defenses! You have done so much in so small an amount of time. Don’t live beyond your purpose! Don’t love life so much that you fail to die in purpose. God is finished with you Hezekiah! Yes, I know, you didn’t get to enjoy kingship like you wanted to since you were so busy fulfilling His purpose. I know you didn’t quite get your retirement you desired and yes, I know, going out like this isn’t very glamorous…but listen…better to die at the wall of your completed purpose than to die breaking out beyond it and fulfilling your own purpose.
What was it that Paul said when the prophet pleaded, “Don’t go!”
Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.
This is the voice of a man that understood his purpose. He never had a lot of money but rather just enough to survive and not beg others for it. Sadly we elevate as successful those who build bigger barns when there are men who refuse to build a bigger barn but instead send others out to build barns of their own.
We gripe about how much we were paid, where we stayed, how big the hotel room was, and if we were honored “correctly.” Doesn’t matter if one person received the Holy Ghost because we are focused on what “we” didn’t receive. Herein lies the pandemic of placated purpose.
We are soothed and mollified, especially by concessions, and because of this we are becoming satisfied. Woe to them that are at ease in Zion! Abraham, arise and walk…get up, get up, get up! Don’t stop moving! Don’t stop progressing. There is a purpose for your life and I will not let you settle down and retire from this!
Proverbs tells us that there are three things, yea even four, that are never satisfied but I would like to add one more to the list; A person with a call of God that understands purpose and yet that purpose is unfulfilled.
You can’t mollify a man who understands and lives in true purpose. You can’t offer money, cars, boats, houses, and buildings to placate this man. These men have goals that no earthly possession can affect. They wear it like a cloak and that cloak is a zeal that has consumed them. It is an unquenchable fire that is shut up in their bones. Water will not put it out, trials will not put it out, being abused, mistreated, and unappreciated will not put this fire out.
True success is based upon fulfilling purpose. Sadly, men can reach for success and fail to grasp purpose. Purpose is what gives value to life. Without purpose there is no value. I can take an object of great value, but if I don’t understand its purpose, I can lose that object and never think twice about it…why? Because I never understood its purpose.
God gives us time so that we can fulfill purpose. The continual pump of my heart, the circulation of the blood, and the oxygen that is cycled and recycled through my lungs is solely accomplished for the fulfillment of purpose.
28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
2 Timothy 1:9
9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,
What we value will often reveal our purpose. When we value the accolades of man, the bigger cars, and the monetary gifts of life we reveal our failure to understand the purpose of our calling. Abraham looked the king of Sodom in the eyes and said, “you can have it all…except for the people…for I have lifted mine hands to the possessor of the heaven’s and the earth.” What you have to offer cannot even equate with my purpose. What you don’t understand king of Sodom is that while you live for the now and you live for the selfish purposes of physical possession I am living under the mantle of something eternal that no man can give, that I cannot buy, and there are no shortcuts.
A man that thinks preaching the big meeting deserves more fasting and prayer than the battle for souls and and a Sunday service with three sinners that need the reward of purchased redemption are sadly lacking in their understanding of purpose. They reveal what is valuable to them for “where their heart is there also is their treasure.” David was a man next to God’s own heart. His heart was alongside the heart of God. His mind was only the reflection of God’s mind. Thus, David’s treasure was beyond earthly possession. His treasure was there with God. His treasure couldn’t not be stored in vaults, barns, or buildings.
You can build Him a house David but you cannot contain this Treasure…Oh Solomon, had you but prayed for the heart of your father instead of the great wisdom you had received. And so I issue a challenge to every preacher, teacher, minister, saint, and sinner alike. Look up…see those stars? Count them if you can but you cannot. Your purpose is set beyond the reach of what earthly can produce. Stretch forth…break out on all sides, enlarge your habitation…but regardless of how far those stakes may drive into earthen grounds it is the man within or the woman within that continues to reach for the stars that are beyond what man can do.
I refused to become affected by the pandemic of placated purpose.