Finding Your Place in the Scheme of Things…“What You’re Here For”

Maybe you don’t know Earl. But I just know you like him. He’s a farmer, a bit along in years. His wife’s just gone out to the hen house where she’s made an exciting discovery. When the TV screen reveals her as she turns to call for Earl, she’s got an egg in her hands. It’s golden. Well, Earl comes hurryin’ ‘round the side of the house in answer to her call. She gently lifts the golden egg in her palms and says, “You know that chicken we just bought…?” Without a word, Earl raises his right hand to reveal a fried chicken leg! It’s right about here that the announcer voices over something about being, “…set for life?” Poor Earl. He “done et” the chick that lays the golden eggs. ‘Missed out by (inch gesture) that much! Regrettably, the announcer goes on to say there’s a finer certainty for life in the Maryland Lottery. NOT! This is not our place in Christ Jesus. Our place is to know what we’re here for! And we’ll only know that when we know for whom we are here! So important, so present is this issue that, over the summer, when I asked over a dozen households, “What do we need to wrestle with in our faith? What do we need to hear from our pulpit?” a third responded, “Help us find our place in the scheme of things. Help us answer when we ask, “What am I here for?’”

Through the Word (shown), God shows us where we are, knows us as we are. And God shows us why we’re here in Jesus Christ.

Left to our own devices, God knows we’re livin’ somewhere between golden eggs and chicken legs. ‘Between wishful thinking and short-sighted linkings. We’re prone to answer, “What am I here for?” with, “Why me? Why ME, of course!” Scripture paints our picture with brilliant brush strokes of colossal contrast. In a way, the wisdom book of Ecclesiastes paints us alot like Earl and the Mrs. (Without some intervention, we meander with little meaning through the middling and mundane.) “Vanity of vanities! All is vanity. What do we gain by all our toil under the sun? A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains for ever.” If your life is running to doctors, or kids’ plays and bands and soccer; endless chores, folks keeping/settling scores, or always demanding from you more and more, haven’t you asked, “What for, what for?” If the entire center of your life is inward, and the whole reach of your heart no longer than your arms’ embrace, it makes you shudder (at least I do) when you read in The Book(s), “Eat your bread, enjoy; drink your wine merrily, God’s good with it. Dress up, deck out. Enjoy life with the wife. Have a vain life. You’re gettin’ yours now! Make the best of it now. Because where you’re headed (Sheol/non-being/hell-apart-from-God) there will be nothing to enjoy, no joy at all.” (Mod. Trans.)

There is a contrast, an option-for-adoption… by God… in Jesus Christ. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind. You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” On these two all-God-requires depends. Jesus says so. Last Sunday, we read of Mary & Martha. We lifted Martha for two things. First, she’s the sister who invites Jesus into their home. Second, she’s the one who serves him humbly. (Though with a little “poor me” at first.) Still, she knows her life had real meaning in caring for Christ. Mary, on the other hand, finds her rest/ peace/ fullness wrapped in being near to him. Jesus affirms both. But the real power in their story comes with Jesus when their beloved brother Lazareth dies. Here, they both come to lean on Jesus, to trust him completely, and to say “yes” to the assurance that all life, all meaning, all eternity, flows through Jesus! They know who they are and why they are because they know whose they are! They belong to Jesus, absolutely. Fully. In a conscious way. No more gold egg gazing or chicken leg grazing for them! What about us?

“What’s my place in the scheme of things?” we ask. Well, it turns out our place is under the searching eye of God! We might wanna remember that the next time we’re doin’ dumb stuff, mean stuff, meaningless stuff; sayin’ unkind or unholy stuff, or just doin’ not much of anything at all. Get this. Our place is in God’s sights. Jesus’ own Bible says so. Christ himself clearly believed it, “…The eyes of the Lord search back and forth across the whole earth, looking for the people whose hearts are perfect [completely] toward him [so that he can show his great power in helping them].” II Chron. 16: 9 Do you catch the sense of this, the import, the feeling? Remember when we were kids? All of us have played hide-and-seek. Get in touch with the feeling of being THE focus of attention. Recall the excitement knowing someone’s on the look out for you. Remember the head-bursting, I-gotta-sneeze (or worse), my-heart’s-racing energy as someone draws near. What excitement! Well… I surely don’t recommend you hide from God in Christ. In fact, just the opposite. But I do pray for you to feel the soul-shattering excitement of knowing the eyes of God himself look back and forth, searching for you, and for your heart to be utterly for him! And he has set us, you and me, here for a purpose.

What am I here for? Now just a week ago, we asked here, what do you see as your calling, your passion for life. I want you to know I’ve reviewed and reflected on them all. Over 300. If you affixed your name, you have been prayed for in your passion, personally! The most repeated passion was for… family! Helping others, second. Witnessing came behind cooking, music and teaching. Politics, the cello, and soccer all got honorable mention. Perhaps the greatest challenge we face is to match and measure our passions by those set out in the Word. Can we enlarge our passions for Jesus’ sake? Ahh, the purpose question. What Heaven says to Moses, it repeats for us. “For this purpose have I let you live, to show you my power, so that my name may be declared throughout all the earth.” Ex.: 9: 6 ‘Not very different than Jesus’ command, “Go and make disciples of all nations.” But it’s not always easy to see our particular, personal call. “The purpose in a man's mind is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out.” Prov. 20: 5 No mind has been deeper than Jesus’ mind, nor calling clearer than his. Speak good news to the poor, set the captives free, open the eyes of the blind, set at liberty those oppressed. Let everybody know our time is the Lord’s time! (Lk. 4) Christ goes farther in laying out our purpose, “To serve me, follow me; where I am, my servant is too, and the Father will honor him/her.” Even after the resurrection, Christ will come to Paul with words for him… and us… “I’ve appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you to serve and bear witness to the things you have and will see in me.” Acts 26. No more livin’ between golden eggs and chicken legs. We’ve got way more callin’ and comin’ to us!

Only you and God, in Jesus Christ, can answer in specific, the question of your call. But there are some words of assurance we can give along the way. No one is given a calling unmatched or unsuited to his/her spiritual gifts. If you are searching for your passion/purpose/place, look to your gifts. Here’s a partial list:

Gifts Grace to Reference
Service Place others first Rm. 12
Teaching Reveal (God’s) truth Rm. 12
Encouragement Lift others up Rm. 12
Helping Do the needed thing Rm. 12
Generosity Give lavishly Rm. 12
Wise Counsel See ahead I Cor. 12
Faith Hold fast to Christ I Cor. 12
Healing Mend, body & soul I Cor. 12
Miracles Make God seeable I Cor. 12

If you want to know what you’re here for, just look at what you’re here with! God has given you the stuff to do your call. So call on the stuff you’ve got to identify the stuff you’re here to do! And then remember to lean on God in Jesus Christ for all your strength, and all your effectiveness. I am beholden to a word sent me just days ago as a challenge and an encouragement. “God is not looking for those who are clever, but those in whom he can be wise, not looking to those who are talented but for whom he can be all-sufficient, he is not looking for those who are powerful but those through whom he can be Almighty!” I hope I’m here to be one of these. And I have confidence that you are way ahead of me in the journey. And should either of us become tired along the way, I know that we can lean upon the cross to hold s us up and to send us on our way.

Now if someone would just tell Earl and the Mrs., why they could join us in the journey. And all of us will be set for life, because we know our calling and our Savior in the way of life eternal.

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