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Do you know your purpose in life?comment (0)

October 2, 2003

By Betty Baggott

One Sunday afternoon about two months ago, I had an experience I will never forget. My assignment was to begin a study on “The Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren that night at church. As I drove home from the Sunday morning service, God gave me an idea that I felt would speak far more than anything I could say.

At first, I tried to reason with God about how goofy I would look, all dressed up going around asking people the question, “What do you feel is the purpose for your life?”

God won and I drove into the Kmart parking lot. Being careful to stand right in front of the door for security reasons, I chose my people carefully, so as not to pick only a certain type or age.

I walked up to a beat-up car with a sad looking lady in it and asked my question.

“Please forgive me for bothering you, but could I ask you one question?” I stood there as she looked me up and down suspiciously.

Then she said, “I guess so. What is the question?”

Change of focus

“Tell me please,” I said, “What do you feel is the purpose of your life?”

She did not hesitate a moment.

“I moved here from up North, and it was hard for me to find a New Age group, but I did. I am real involved. I must admit I don’t go all the time,” she said. “I have so much to do. Guess most of my focus is on myself.”

Space will not permit me to share the conversation I had with her. We talked about my God and my hope that she might visit our church. Let me share the other answers I received.

A man and his small son: “Well, that is something I don’t think much about. I just go day to day. I do teach my children right from wrong. No, we don’t go to any church.”

A young man of about 30:

“I don’t have time for stupid questions. Don’t even know what the word focus means.”

When I had interviewed these four, I decided to drive a few blocks to Food World. In this day and time someone could have reported me for harassment. It was time to move on. I went to Food World, parked my car, got out and waited.

An older gentleman came by, and I asked the same question.

“Sir, please give me a moment of your time. Could you tell me what you feel is your purpose in life?” (I forgot to mention that each time I stopped someone, I did tell them I was going to teach a class at church that night and that was the reason I was interviewing people about their purpose in life.)

I waited for him to speak. Finally, he got the words out.

“I would say my main purpose has been to carry on the name of my family. We have a large family and we have always hung out together. Nothing like family,” he said.

My heart ached as he told me he had never seen any reason to be in church. He thanked me for the invitation but just did not see the need.

My dear friends, you would not believe the answers I received that Sunday afternoon from the young and the old. After awhile, I drove to another location and posed the same question.

At Bruno’s, I found the most receptive person — a teenager getting off from work. He was not saved and had never attended church. Our time together was precious.

Greatest challenge

After my conversations with some eight people, I drove home. I had a good list of answers to share with my class that night, but I just wanted to cry. In my heart I felt
that my life was not purpose
driven enough or I would be trying to win souls every day — finding the unchurched and inviting them to come be a part of God’s fellowship.

While we are in church, where are the people who are hurting,
brokenhearted and have no real
purpose in life? They are buying groceries, playing golf, sleeping and drinking coffee to try and make it through the day.

Oh, dear people! We are given the greatest challenge in the world: that of helping people to know the One who will fill them and help them live a life they never dreamed possible. We must help them to know the One who will give them eternal life. More than ever, I desire to be more of a part of this.

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