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Monday, October 7, 2019

Learning to Focus on My Purpose, not the Problem

In review of Philippians 1:22-25 Paul says, “If by continuing to live I can do more worthwhile work, then I am not sure which I should choose. I am pulled in two directions. I want very much to leave this life and be with Christ, which is a far better thing; but for your sake it is much more important that I remain alive. I am sure of this, and so I know that I will stay. I will stay on with you all, to add to your progress and your joy in the faith” (GNT).

Paul had a purpose for living when he served the Philippians and others. I too need a purpose for living that goes beyond providing for my physical needs. Whom can I serve or help? What is my purpose for living?

When I stay focused on my purpose instead of my problem, I can be happy even when life seems to be falling apart.

Paul was an old man when he was in prison in Rome. He was a long way from home. He was awaiting execution. Everything had been taken from him—his friends, his freedom, his ministry, even his privacy, with a guard chained to him 24 hours a day. It wasn’t exactly a happy time for Paul.

But there was one thing they could not take away from Paul: his purpose. Paul made the choice to stay focused on his purpose, even when he had lost everything else. What was his purpose? Serving God by serving others.

I’ll never forget reading Viktor Frankl’s book Man’s Search for Meaning. Frankl was a Jewish psychiatrist who was taken to one of the death camps in Nazi Germany. All of his family and all of his friends were gassed and murdered. He talks in his book about a day he stood in front of the Gestapo stark naked. They’d taken away the prisoners’ clothes and even Frankl’s wedding ring. As he stood there with nothing at all, he suddenly realized there was one thing the Nazis could not take away from him: his choice of how he would respond.

I cannot totally control what other people do to me. I cannot totally control what other people do around me. But I can control how I respond.

In summary, I can do worthwhile work while I'm here on earth. Being with Christ in person would be much better, but for the sake of others, I'm here. I need to keep in mind my purpose for living, one that goes above taking care of my basic needs. I need to be on the lookout for whom I can server. Things in this life can be taken away from me, however, no matter what I can still serve God by serving others. So while I can't control what others do to or around me. I can control how I decide to respond to it. Therefore whatever happens to me, I can focus on my purpose and not my problems.

As I think about this, I believe my purpose is to gently and humbly serve others. I have the unique opportunity to help others with technology issues at work and to make things easier for them to do their work. I do this in a way that helps others see the character of Christ come through. I need to help introduce them to a relationship with Christ. My choice in how I respond to situations is completely within my control. I may not like what happens to me, but I can choose my response to it. I just need to keep distractions and influences from sidelining my purpose. 

I pray this morning Father that you help me to focus on your purpose for me and not let things that happen to sideline me. I also ask you Father for wisdom, guidance and discernment for my day, my leadership and my interactions with others. These things I pray in your Son Jesus name, amen.