Does God Have a “Special Purpose” For Every Individual?

YSome approaches to evangelism make the assertion that “God has a special purpose for your life”. But to what extent is that true when it comes to individuals? Does every one of us have a special, unique purpose that we need to find?

I wrote the following comment on a blog the other day after an article about determining God’s will for our lives:

What if God’s plan for our life is merely to LIVE life, but to live it in a way that demonstrates who He is and what He is like? That our path in life is not much different to the paths open to everyone else apart from the fact that we have a relationship with Jesus and that relationship reflects in our behaviour and character.

What if our lives aren’t rigidly planned out in a way that we need to discover each detail (what job should we pursue; who should we marry, what we should do tomorrow etc). Maybe we have been given far more freedom of choice about these things than we think, as long as we choose within the general guidelines God has revealed.
If for some reason God has something special for us to do, then HE will point us in the right direction, and will do it clearly. He has not set out a hidden plan for our lives that we need to discover and implement.

I later thought about the story Jesus told of the men whose master gave them money (talents) to invest. None of them were told what to do with the money, but there was an expectation that what was given should be used to produce a profitable outcome.

One of those men was so afraid of doing the wrong thing that he merely hid what he had been given so that it wouldn’t be lost. His master rebuked him, telling that investing the money in the bank would have at least given a small increase through interest.
So there is an indication that the means of gaining a profit wasn’t preordained, but had been left up to the initiative of the servant.

How often are we hindered by fear of “missing God’s will” for our lives? Or of not knowing what the “special purpose” for our life may be? And through that fear are we burying the talents our master has provided?


5 thoughts on “Does God Have a “Special Purpose” For Every Individual?

  1. I once thought I had a clear idea of something I wanted to do, become a chaplain, which idea was followed almost immediately by an opportunity (so I thought) to do so. There was a conference or multi-day introduction (including a test and invitation to join) into an organization of chaplains. I enjoyed the introduction. But then realized the people who joined, and were thereby chaplains according to the leadership of the organization, were likely to have little in common except having been to this introduction, etc. So, I thus had misgivings followed by looking up the leadership and finding they were associated with a particular ministry that is the “charismania” type you’ve mentioned (I don’t feel like naming the particular). This fit with the fact that in an otherwise sober and constructive setting, the chaplain-credentialing leader had made a comment telling people to “have fun” at church (in a way that hinted at, in my discernment, charismatic frivolity — which turned out to be so). That person was based out of town but had been hosted by an in-town worship/worshiplike complex (for lack of some other term). At the time I had thought it possible something in a positive direction could happen at that place even though I didn’t for the most part want to be around there. (Maybe it was good for someone.)

    I think it’s more common and/or reasonable for women to have time to look into things and not pick something “to do” because they (we) are actually busy taking care of families (especially children in my case). Of course, that isn’t seen as something being done or which makes the person worthy of respect, and many women find careers early on in reaction to that so they won’t be the stomped down loser who doesn’t count for much and has only earned what the Church [not meaning by the capitalization the Roman church but the larger general conceptual affiliation] — at least the most visible faces of the Church until recently [and by recently I am thinking of the new “Pope” (so, Roman/Catholic in this case)] and still (over and above this figure’s efforts) the greater momentum of activity — is teaching the world in general: you get what I sporadically and impulsively want to give you and no one should think about it beyond that because you are only you and don’t matter as much as the fact everything is mine because you made your choices and are a mother not working. The leaven is leavening the WHOLE lump by now (economic libertarianism has spread to the minds of men toward women). That might seem like a tangent, but women aren’t a minority (and would be major if they were say one fourth), so I don’t.

    Even though the example I illustrated involved doing something with ecclesiastical implications, I agree with you that we have the freedom to do just about anything, like anyone in the world has. What’s required is to be, as we go about every moment in life, cognitive of our behavior and thinking patterns, careful to be examples, etc.

  2. So, if Christians get into politics or even “armchair” or “Monday morning” policy advising, they should NOT take it upon themselves to DEGRADE the general society (ACTIVELY PROMOTING libertarianism, which is usually associated with American conservatism now) in order to be able to look like they stand out as special people because they throw the poor a bone when they get the notion (or even monthly) or because their wives haven’t literally dropped dead of neglect. THIS IS LACK OF FAITH. You really think you have to lower the bar for everyone else in order for the glory of God to be seen in you?!!! It is beyond lack of faith. It is perverse and corrupt. Many have not thought this through. THINK.

  3. But on to a different kind of anecdotal example on the topic of the heading. I once had a dentist who was an outstanding dentist. It is hard to find this. Not only that, though, he prayed for his patients. I don’t know what else he did other than the fact he was the father of a homeschooling family of twelve and active in a nearby church. Did he have a home Bible study or help in a soup kitchen? But there came a time when he decided to go to Cambodia. Was this due to some pressure to do something “more” Christian or special? I don’t know. I know he got all ready to go and then was diagnosed with brain cancer and never went. He died. People ended up praying for him for months. And they don’t have him to pray for them any more. I think his prayers were effective.

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