10 December 2012

Rick Warren: A Life of Purpose

As some like to say, there is nothing new, nothing new under the sun. And there isn't. But that is not quite true; it is self-limiting view of things, when one strikes a cynical pose. And it is not a reason to discount what is truly new in life, the possibilities that are presented, and to ignore them.

What is new is you.

You have never been here before as you are, and will not be here again.

And what you do with life is therefore unique, the only thing which you can truly claim as your own and take with you, when you are no longer here. You will spend a long time carrying it, be it treasure or baggage, or most likely a mixture of both. So be sure that it is something that you can carry well and without shame, that satisfies you, and that you can love. Most are not called to greatness, but to do the work of the day, the little things to which we are called, and to do them well and with a loving heart. And this is the purpose of your life.

Fear not that your life shall come to an end, but rather, that it shall never have had a beginning. For that is to choose a darkness and an emptiness without end or fulfillment.

God beholds you. He calls you by your name. He sees you and understands you as He made you. He knows what is in you, all your peculiar feelings and thoughts, your dispositions and likings, your strengths and your weaknesses. He views you in your day of rejoicing and in your day of sorrow. He sympathizes in your hopes and your temptations. He interests Himself in all your anxieties and remembrances, all the risings and fallings of your spirit.

He encompasses you round and bears you in His arms. He notes your very countenance, whether smiling or in tears. He looks tenderly upon you. He hears your voice, the beating of your heart, and your very breathing. You do not love yourself better than He loves you.

You cannot shrink from pain more than He dislikes your bearing it; and if He puts it on you, it is as you would put it on yourself, if you would be wise, for a greater good afterwards.

God has created me to do Him some definite service; He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission -- I may never know it in this life but I shall be told it in the next.

I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for naught.

I shall do good, I shall do His work. I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place while not intending it if I do but keep His commandments.

Therefore I will trust Him. Whatever I am, I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him; in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him. If I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him.

He does nothing in vain. He knows what He is about.

He may take away my friends. He may throw me among strangers. He may make me feel desolate, make my spirits sink, hide my future from me -- still He knows what He is about.

Let us feel what we really are--sinners attempting great things. Let us simply obey God's will, whatever may come. He can turn all things to our eternal good. Easter day is preceded by the forty days of Lent, to show us that they only who sow in tears shall reap in joy.

Fear not that thy life shall come to an end, but rather that it shall never have had a beginning.

May the Lord support us all the day long, till the shades lengthen, and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed, and the fever of life is over, and our work is done.

John Henry Newman