Purpose. Intent, Direction,

By Tom Roberts

There is a great deal of difference between a dynamite blast and a rifle shot. While the dynamite blast has more power and generates more turbulence, the very power that is released may only do more damage due to the la6k of control that is evident in a rifle shot. A bullet is sent to a target, given direction and headed toward a certain goal. One of the great tragedies of life is that some people often explode like a dynamite blast but have no purpose. Their life may have a great deal of noise, heat and power and yet accomplish little. How much we need to learn to harness the enthusiasm, talents and abilities of our life and give them direction.

I remember a man of tremendous wood-working ability who could perform a work of art with a piece of lumber. He could truly be called a carpenter, not just a nail-driver like others I have known. But this man had no control in his life no real purpose, and I saw him literally drink himself to death with liquor. He lost his family, his wealth, his talent and finally his life because he could not give purpose to his life. It was a sad waste.

I remember a man who could preach wonderful gospel sermons. His lessons were true to the book of God, clearly stated and warmly motivating to the lost. He baptized a number of lost souls into the body of Christ. But this man did not or would not control his lust for women and ruined his reputation, lost his family, left the church and has no contact with faithful Christians today. He could not control his appetites.

I remember a number of wonderful teenagers who were filled with the energies of the young. They could put more events into one 24-hour day than most people could in a week. They were bright, able, talented young adults who had vitality, vigor and stamina to do and achieve great things. But they devoted all their energies to worldly things and had no time for the Lord. Some of them will make a name for themselves in the world, some will make a lot of money, some will go far in earthly pursuits. But they failed to realize the value of the soul and did not direct their lives toward Heaven.

I know of some churches that are tremendously busy and active. They have a nursery school, a Boy Scout troop, take the young people and senior citizens on bus trips, keep two or three secretaries busy with paper work, have a number of preachers, associate preachers, educational directors and youth workers. But all of this activity, a veritable beehive of comings and goings, is not so much kingdom business as it is social activity. The mission of the church has been lost and the leaders of this church suppose that the mere flurry of activity is acceptable with the Lord.

Get the point? One person with purpose, intent and direction to his life can accomplish more than 100 people who are busy but have no mission. We have heard criticism of faithful churches by our liberal brethren because, they say, we are not doing anything. While this charge is open to debate (knowing that we could always do more than we are doing), I state firmly that a small band of disciples who are worshiping God and teaching the lost will do more in the long run than a large congregation that is given over to the social gospel simply because, with all its faults, the small church has purpose and direction. Someone has suggested that a train, loaded with many filled railroad cars, going at a high rate of speed will not do the good that a little red wagon can do if the train is headed in the wrong direction. The faster the train goes, the further it goes in the wrong direction. The little red wagon cannot carry the load that the train can carry but it will arrive at the right destination. Like the rifle bullet, it has purpose and direction.

True, there are places where the analogies about the dynamite and the rifle bullet, the train and the little red wagon break down. We should not be content with one shot or with a small wagon load when we can do a great deal more. But like parables used in the Bible, the illustration has one main lesson to teach. That lesson deals with the purpose and intent of our lives that we should have. Friend, you will never accomplish a great deal for God until you determine the direction of your life. Whether you are a doctor, lawyer or Indian chief, you need to put Christ first in your life and let other things be secondary. As the apostle Peter stated, we are strangers and pilgrims, just passing through this life. If we lose our sense of direction and let earthly pursuits become our main interest, we have lost everything.

Which is it with you? Are you busy but have no time for the Lord? Are you talented but accomplish nothing for the Lord? Are you filled with energy but too tired to serve? Do you make a lot of noise in some fields of endeavor but say nothing when you need to speak up for truth? Why not determine to give some purpose to your life in a spiritual way? Make up your mind to channel your life into fruitful service to God and His church. You will find that you accomplish more that will last for eternity and that, like the rifle shot, you will not “miss the mark.”

Guardian of Truth XXVIII: 9, p. 273
May 3, 1984