Jeremiah 1:5 “Before you were born I set you apart.”
A comfortable life that can afford some of the finer things the world has to offer appeals to many. We don’t want to struggle just to survive. But a new generation for whom survival has never been much of a question longs for something more than material support. They what their lives to be meaningful. They want to make a difference. They are searching for a purpose.
The Lord assures everyone who belongs to him by faith that they are truly special. He set them apart for his unique purposes even before he formed their bodies to meet those purposes. But what is that purpose?
For Jeremiah it was “prophet to the nations.” That was God’s word to him. He also has a word for us: “You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” We, too, have a role in declaring God’s praises to the world around us. It’s just that, for most of us, it isn’t as a full time prophet.
If not as a full time prophet like Jeremiah, then how? It may be through the unique gifts God has given you as a part of the body of Christ. In Romans 12 Paul reminds us that, just as the members of our body don’t all have the same function, so God has given us different gifts for working together and serving his kingdom. If you don’t have a gift for prophesying, or preaching, you might have one for serving, teaching, encouraging others, contributing monetary gifts, leadership and administration, or showing mercy. All these support ministries are important and necessary for spreading the gospel.
Or maybe God’s purpose for you in spreading the word will have more to do with your earthly vocations. You remember that Jesus told his disciples in the Sermon on the Mount, “Let your light shine before men that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” I know Christians who have shared their faith because they were parents watching their children at swimming lessons and conversations with other parents led to talk about church and values; because they were post-graduate students, and their demeanor in the classroom led other students to ask what was different about them; because they were serving as election judges and some who voted stayed around to talk about the important things in life; because they were passengers on an airplane and the person sitting next to them had questions; because they were customers getting repairs at a car dealership, and their common problem led them to talk about a common Savior.
Whether you are declaring God’s praises through your service to your congregation, or whether you are inspiring the Father’s praises through the way you live and talk in your daily lives, your purpose comes with his promise. His word gives you certainty that he made you and saved you for this very purpose.