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Purpose and Meaning

In her book “The Hiding Place,” Cori Ten Boom shares about how her mother suffered a terrible stroke that left her without the power of speech and immobile for a time. After a few weeks she regained some mobility, but never regained the power of speech. Her mother became a prisoner in her own body. She had enjoyed a full life of ministry, hospitality, caring for the sick and poor, and taking care of her large family. She wrote notes of encouragement to widows and other young mothers constantly. Now, all of that was gone. Yet, she never lost her sense of purpose and Corrie says, that day after day as her mother lay in her bed or sat in her chair, she could see her mother’s lips moving and knew that she was praying, talking with her Father in heaven.

Purpose and Meaning are the sense that who we are and what we’re doing matters and that there is intention behind our existence.

For too many of us, our sense of purpose is rooted in ourselves; what we do, who we are, what we contribute. But only a purpose that lies outside of ourselves and rests in something completely trustworthy and durable is a purpose that will carry us through life’s most difficult storms. This is good news! Because the Christian’s purpose rests in Christ, who has been raised from the dead and can never die again: “…your life is hidden with Christ in God.” (Col. 3:3b)

The apostle Paul, reflecting on Christ’s resurrection makes this conclusion: “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” (1 Cor. 15:58). We matter and everything that we do matters because our lives and all that we do are now hidden in Christ!

In the Lord, our work and our lives are no longer lived in vain. Our purpose rests securely in his hands.

This transforms every part of our lives. Faithfulness matters because we know that God is redeeming all things (Eph. 1:3-10), even the most mundane things. “Whatever you do, whether you eat or drink, do it all to the glory of God.” (1 Cor. 10:31).

What could be more mundane than eating and drinking? And yet, everything done under the Lordship of Christ is something that he takes up and makes beautiful. Our lives matter because they are hidden in Christ and he is making everything new.

Years later, when Corrie Ten Boom was put in a German prison for her work with the Dutch Underground and then placed in solitary confinement, she remembered her mother. It was the memory of her mother, trapped in her own body, day after day, joyfully enjoying the fellowship of her heavenly Father that carried Corrie through those dark days. How could her mother have known what God was going to do with her faithfulness? There is no way that she could have foreseen that. Yet, she trusted that faithfulness to Jesus never goes unnoticed. She was right. Her purpose rested in Christ alone, and God used it for his glory. What Corrie’s mother did when she was unable to speak or do anything else will be remember for generations. More than that, it will echo down through eternity to the praise and glory of God. What purpose will you give your life to today?

Tim Prince

Pastor of Missional Community


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