Your Part in His Story
“For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” (Colossians 1:16–17 NIV)
Part of the celebration of Advent (which is the Christian celebration of the coming of Christ) is that we find our purpose in God’s coming to earth. I love how Eugene Peterson translates Colossians 1:16. He writes, “We look at this Son and see God’s original purpose in everything created.” Advent is simply the celebration of the Creator invading the created. And with this invasion, we receive hope, purpose and grace to live within His story.
But so many people from my generation have lost this idea, and have lost the understanding that our purpose is to get caught up in His story rather than to write our own. Donald Miller highlights the angst of our generation in his new book called A Million Miles in a Thousand Years (which I highly recommend reading) when he says, “The thing about trying to remember your life is it makes you wonder what any of it means. You get the feeling life means something, but you’re not sure what. Life has a peculiar feel when you look back on it that it doesn’t have when you’re actually living it. Sometimes I’m tempted to believe life doesn’t mean anything at all.”
In yesterday’s sermon, James said, “Christians believe that everyone has a story, and that everyone’s individual story could never be told in full. They also believe that only one story redeems our story. God’s Salvation History story is vital to the meaning and fulfillment of our own personal story. Without His story our story means nothing.” And that is the point: apart from Christ we can do nothing of significance (John 15). But with God, we see that seemingly mundane tasks, these endless “random scenes,” find their connectedness and purpose in Christ.
After connecting Christ, the way we find our purpose in Him is to literally become children of God. This means we are to act like our Heavenly Father. And how did/does our Heavenly Father act? He actively engaged/engages in what is right in front of Him. He did this through sending His son, Jesus. He continues this through His Spirit. And since we are His children, we are called to do the same: to be the presence of Christ in other people’s lives.
The new movie in theaters called “The Blind Side” is a great example of this. The Tuohy family is living a heroic, engaging story simply because they have found their purpose in Christ and have engaged the world right in front of them. It’s not like they went into downtown Memphis looking to adopt an underprivileged child and found Michael Oher. Michael just happened to be right in front of them, and because of they are children of God they responded to a need just as God has.
Leigh Anne Tuohy said something on the subject of finding your purpose that is challenging, especially during this time of year. She said, “You don’t have to go out and bring a child into your home—that’s not what’s required. But you can do something—everybody is capable of doing something. So whatever your something is, do it well. Make a difference.” James said something similar at the Imagine Banquet last night: “You don’t have to start a non-profit construction company to fulfill God’s purpose for your life.” But you do have to engage in your part of His story, whatever that may be. And I pray that as you do this during the Advent season, you find “God’s original purpose” for which you were created.