Life with Jesus

The Art of Being Purposeful

Let me run through this generic conversation that each one of us have about a jillion times a day:

Me: Hey! How are you?

You: I’m fine. How ’bout you?

Me: Doin’ good.

You: Good to see you.

Me: You too…

My homeless amigo in high school never said, “I’m good” or “I’m fine”. He would say, “I’m blessed”. I always thought that was a perfect way to answer that question because 1) it takes people off guard and 2)it reminds you everytime you say it that you really are blessed. I always wanted to start saying that but I never did. You know why? Because I’m not purposeful in my conversations.

1 Samuel 3:19- The Lord was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of his words fall to the ground.

This has been one of my favorite verses for a while but I think that  it’s really starting to hit home right now. At our premarital counseling seminar thing tonight, we talked about being purposeful in communication. Being knowledgable about your and your spouse’s conversation style is important but I think what really struck me was that we need to examine our motivations for why we say things. We need to ask “why?”

Afterwards, Alex and I continued the discussion and God showed me how I can apply it to my whole life. Imagine, Beth, if none of your actions, none of your words, none of your purchases, none of your time were wasted. Imagine. If I could learn to live my life with purpose, God would be glorified.

You might be wondering, what does it mean to live purposefully?

James 1:19- My dear brothers, take note of this: be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.

That verse is one example. If we are quick to listen and SLOW to speak, then we are thinking about what and why we say things. That’s being purposeful. Think about what kind of conflict that could avoid. For those who follow Jesus and struggle with gossip, think what wonders it would do if you stopped before sharing someone’s secret and thought, “Why am I really sharing this? Is it for self-glorification? Is it to harm the other person? Is it so I can increase my pride?” For those who follow Jesus and struggle with pride, think what wonders it would do if you caught yourself thinking or saying that you were better than someone. Consider your motivation. If you’re fighting with someone, are you fighting just to tear them down or are you really listening to what they’re saying and trying to get your point across? Imagine if we started being purposeful in our purchases. I am the queen of purchasing cheap junk. “Hey, if it’s only a dollar, why the heck not?” That dollar could go towards feeding someone or supporting a fellow believer over seas.

Being purposeful in our words and finances is huge but what has really struck me is making my time count. I’ve probably spent months on facebook and myspace, yet I say that I don’t have any time. That’s simply a lie. Really, I’m just not being purposeful about how I spend my time. Could I have not surfed the net and read my Bible? Or called and encouraged my grandmother? Yes. We don’t think about WHY we’re spending our time in certain ways, when really it is a precious gift that God has given us!

In my quest to live a more purposeful life, I must remember that what the world says is purpose is not always what God says is purpose.

Matthew 26:6-13 Whiel Jesus was in Bethany in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table. When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.” Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. I tell you the truth, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”

To some, giving a dollar to a homeless man is a horrid waste of money. But if God calls me to that, then I need to be purposeful in giving in that area. To some, taking the time to pick up trash is a vain effort to clean up the environment. But God has called me to redeem His creation, and I need to be purposeful in that. To some, talking to the “dregs” of society could be a waste because they’ll never turn their lives around. But if God has called me to spend my time there, then doing that would be more purposeful than talking to people who have it together. We have to remember that His thoughts are higher than our thoughts.

I pray that I may begin to live with purpose. That no word, no action, no dollar, no second go by without cause and pure motivations behind it. It’s an experiment. I’ll let you know how it goes. 🙂

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