Ecclesiastes 3:1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.
Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
2 Timothy 1:9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,
Purpose——–(1) the reason for which something exists or is done, made, used, etc…(2) an intended or desired result; end; aim; goal. (3) determination; resoluteness.
Purpose is the reason for which something is done. Simple enough, but it somehow manages to confuse God’s people to no end. Not that God confuses us because “God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints” (1 Corinthians 14:33). If God is the author of peace, then how is it that we manage to keep ourselves confused? Maybe it is because we have an idea how things should work out when we are obedient to God, and his purpose may be completely different from ours. I believe that we often bring a lot of discouragement on ourselves simply because we seek to fulfil our purpose and not his. I know looking back at different things in my life, that has turned out to be the case. Let me give you a couple of examples.
Several years ago, we were doing our Baskets and Blessings project at H.O.P.E. Ministries. That is the name of our Easter basket project where we provide Easter baskets to needy children up through about age 12 give or take a couple of years. We distribute these through several Christ centered crisis pregnancy centers and domestic violence shelters throughout Western North Carolina. We also provide some through various schools. One year we had completed our basket assembly and loaded up the car of a lady from one of the centers we work with. She had requested 80 baskets for her clients children. Several days later I received a call from her asking if I wanted most of the baskets back because a lot of her clients for various reasons did not show up to get them. She said there was another ministry in her town that served a lot of needy folks that could probably use them. I told her to give them away because I wouldn’t have time to get them to anyone else in time for Easter.
Several days after Easter, I received another call, this time from a man I didn’t know. He was calling to thank us for the baskets and let us know how he had used them. Some of them were given away at his agency during a food distribution but there’s more to it than that. They had acquired other baskets from somewhere and were giving them out and had just given out the last one when a boy of about 12 asked for one. The man apologetically told him they didn’t have any more. The boy then pointed to the room behind the man and asked, “what about those?” It turns out that at the same moment that the man was giving out food and baskets, the lady from the pregnancy center was unloading the 50 or so baskets she had left over and sitting them in the floor in the room the man had his back to. While that is heartwarming enough and a really happy ending, it gets better. After they completed their distribution, they had several baskets left over. This man and his pastor, took the extra baskets and went down a street near their agency and when they saw a child, they would ask to speak to their parents. They then asked the parents if it was alright for them to give their child an Easter basket. Now you need to understand that this was, let’s just say, a less than ideal neighborhood. The man from the agency had broken up fights and there had been shootings and a lot of the residents were living in abandoned homes. Of course the parents were perfectly willing for the man and his pastor to give their child a basket. That opened the door for the men to talk to the parents about the Lord. That day, thanks to the divine providence of God; he used some left over Easter baskets to give those two men the opportunity to lead 2 people to the Lord and pray with them and see them get saved by God’s grace.
You may be asking, “what does that have to do with purpose” and I am glad you asked. As you might imagine, I was a little disheartened that we had spent all of that money on Easter baskets that wound up not getting picked up by the folks they were intended for. Little did I know that God had a couple of parents in that town that would come to know the Lord because of left over Easter baskets. They weren’t actually left overs, God just had a different purpose for them than what I did. You better believe that I am well satisfied that his purpose was accomplished and not mine. God doesn’t always let us know what his purpose is. He just expects us to be obedient and his purpose never fails.
More recently, we had been doing a food distribution in 3 counties in the area. We planned it as well as possible even enlisting the aid of school employees to give out vouchers with the pickup information by sending them home in children’s backpacks. We planned to distribute 25 boxes in each county. When I first mentioned this project to one of the ladies at one of the schools she had told me that she could list 50 families in need just out of her school. I told her we could only commit to 25. As it turned out, at the first distribution only 1 family showed up. This on the surface might seem like a giant failure but the fact is that they left with 3 bibles that we were also making available. On the way home, I called the lady that was needing 50 and told her if she could get in contact with the families, I could bring the boxes. She was thrilled and let me know the next day how many families had committed to come to the pickup. The same thing occurred in another county that same week. Only 1 family showed up but those kids left with 3 bibles. I may be a little thick-headed at times but when God gives you the same numbers twice in a row, I would dare say he is working things according to his purpose. Some folks might think I should be very disappointed but I honestly am not. While I would have liked to have seen a larger turnout at both of them, I was then able to meet the larger need in the other county. I am satisfied that even though my purpose may not be achieved, God’s purpose is. My proof of that is found in Isaiah 55:11. In a nutshell it promises that God’s word will not return void but will accomplish what he sends it to do when and where he sends it. In other words, like an old deacon told me when I was a young preacher, “that’s none of my business.” He went on to explain to me that the results are God’s business and being obedient and getting God’s word to a lost and dying world is my job. Believe it or not; that took the weight of the world and a lot of discouragement off of me when I realized he was right.
What I am trying to illustrate is this; we may get discouraged because things don’t turn out like we plan but as long as God accomplishes his purpose, that is all that really matters. You might be thinking that we have just wasted a lot of money but I would disagree. Good seed ain’t cheap. Some of the disciples thought Mary’s alabaster box of ointment was a waste too but Jesus explained that she done it to honor and glorify him. Anytime you can sow the seed of God’s word, it is well worth the effort. Doesn’t the bible say in Matthew 16:26 “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” If God puts that kind of value on a soul; shouldn’t we? Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

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