Made for More
We’re going to talk today about how God has uniquely created us with specific purpose in our lives. There was a story about a guy who basically got to the end of his rope. He was going to jump off the Brooklyn Bridge and commit suicide. He got up, climbed over the railing. Just before he was about to jump off, a police officer grabbed him around his neck and pulled him back. The guy said, “Look officer, you have no idea how meaningless my life is. I have no purpose for living. I have no reason to continue on. Just let me jump.” The police officer was pretty kind-hearted and said, “I’ll tell you what. I’ll make a deal with you. I’ll give you five minutes to tell me all the reasons why your life has no purpose. Then you give me five minutes to tell you all the reasons why life does have purpose. If at the end of ten minutes you still want to jump, I wont stop you.” He thought that sounded like a deal. He took five minutes and told him all the reasons why his life had no purpose. The police officer took five minutes and told him all the reasons why he thought life did have purpose. At the end of ten minutes they stood up, joined hands and jumped off the bridge together. The good news is they were talking about purpose. The bad news is they didn’t discover a purpose that could sustain them in their lives.
I look around our culture and our city and I see hundreds and thousands of people who are wrestling with purpose in their lives. Many of them have yet to find a purpose that can sustain them. All of us will come to a place where we ask what I call the, “purpose questions.” Why do I exist? Why am I here? What on earth am I doing here? What’s the point of my life? When we ask those questions sometimes it’s during transition periods in our life. Maybe when we’re tired or weary. Maybe it’s during a midlife crisis? Or when we’re leaving high school and going into college, facing new challenges in a new day. Maybe it’s when a boyfriend or a girlfriend breaks up with us and our hearts are broken. We could be going through a divorce. Regardless of the situation, we will, at some time, ask questions of purpose.
In the Bible, the Old Testament gets to this. There is a word in the Old Testament that’s translated “meaningless or lack of purpose” (‘habal’; vanity; breath) and that word could literally be translated like a sigh. Have you ever been there? Maybe it’s when you think your relationship with your partner is getting better but when you get together you go back to the same old arguments, saying the same old words in the same old ways. All that progress you thought you made goes out the window. You’re frustrated. Maybe it’s when your child takes your laptop computer and decides it would be fun to pull all the keys out of the computer and spread them around the kitchen. Sigh. When we’re tired and weary or maybe when we aren’t getting enough sleep or if we’re going through a difficult time; that’s when we begin to ask the purpose questions. Why am I here? What’s the point of all this stuff called life? The good news is that God created us with purpose.
"The Lord has made everything for his own purpose..." [Proverbs 16:4, God’s Word]
It’s for His purpose. Not for my purpose, not for your purpose, not for my pleasure, not for your pleasure but for His pleasure and His purpose He’s created everything. He had a plan. In other words, if you’re here today and you’re alive, you’re breathing and your heart is ticking that means that you have a purpose in your life. God created you with a purpose. You are not here by accident. You didn’t just show up. You had a divine appointment to be here. God wants you to use that purpose to impact others for Him.
For the next forty days we’re going on a journey where we learn together what our purpose is, individually and corporately. We’re going to explore together during our small group times, our memory verses, and our devotionals how God has wired us up with purpose. It’s going to be an awesome time.
The psalmist began to get a picture of his own personal purpose. It started when he began to realize that he was God’s masterpiece. God had created him uniquely and individually for His own purpose.
"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." [Psalm 139:13-14, NIV]
The psalmist is saying, “He knit me together in my mother’s womb. You were right there in the beginning, God. You created me and crafted me individually, purposely, and specifically to accomplish what you want to accomplish through me in life.” That’s an amazing thought. We are not some random collection of biological particles and cells that have become human beings. The Bible is saying that God got right down in there and He tweaked our DNA. He created us individually and uniquely for a purpose.
First thing we are going to look at this morning is this: God broke the mold on us by creating you uniquely. The psalmist says we are fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderfully could be translated: “distinct or marked out.” The meaning of the word is that this person is realizing their uniqueness in life.
We’re all different and we’re all unique. God broke the mold on you! Look around the room. We’re all of different make up, different sizes, some have more hair, and some have less hair. Some of us are different colors and nationalities. All of it is designed and wired by God for a purpose. He loves variety. It’s a cool thing about God. Do you realize there are over three hundred thousand species of beetles? Come to church and you learn new facts all the time. Three hundred thousand species of beetles! You would think that ten thousand species is enough. But God loves variety. You take the average cubic foot of snow and there is eighteen million snowflakes in it and not one of them are alike. They are all unique and different.
"How many are your works, O Lord! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures." [Psalm 104:24, NIV]
Just think about the human body and the wisdom that God put into making the human body. Take something as simple as our foot. There are twenty-six bones that make up our foot. Do you realize the average person that plays a full game of soccer puts an accumulative force on each foot of a thousand tons? That’s per foot. We are made to deal with amazing stress and pressure on our bodies. The femur in the leg which is the strongest point in our body endures twelve hundred pounds of pressure per square inch with each step that we take. It’s stronger than reinforced concrete. With every bite you eat you take a fork; you lift it up to your mouth to take a bite that takes over thirty joints just to do that one action. When you think of the complexity of our minds working together with our nerves, muscles, joints, and bones just to take a bite of food we should stand in awe. God’s made it with wisdom.
This really came home to me this past week. Lately dealing with my back.
I remembered the complexity of our make up. The brain is three pounds of the most intricately pieced together matter in the entire universe that we know of. Do you realize in the average brain you can store up to twenty-five million books worth of information? You say, “Man I read a page and I can’t even remember what I read!” You can actually store twenty-five million books worth of information. The brain can hold three trillion images. That’s like a DVD with images in our minds. God made all of that with wisdom and He made it to accomplish His purpose.
Sometimes we beat ourselves up, we get low self-esteem, and we think we’re worthless and that we don’t matter. We get frustrated because of disappointments and failures in our lives. We get frustrated when our bodies don’t work the way they used to. They don’t move the way they used to go. However, we forget that we are this complicated, intricate design and a masterpiece of the living God. He wove us together in our mother’s womb to accomplish His purpose. God created you uniquely. God broke the mold on you. There is no other you. He did that because He has a purpose for your life.
Nelson Mandela: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Second thing I’d share with you is that God created you with shape. When we hear the word shape we often think of physical shape. We are a culture who is obsessed with external appearance and shape. It’s all about what you look like.
There is a show The Average Joe. I don’t know if any of you have seen it. They bring in this pretty girl. They bring in these average Joe’s for her to date. Some of the guys are overweight, some are really thin, and some are geeky or nerdy. They’re average. Then about half way through the show, they threw a curve ball in. They bring in all the hunks, all the super model guys with six packs. The question is: What will she do? Will she chose an average Joe or will she go for the super model? Friends, in God’s economy there is no average Joe. We are all created specifically and uniquely by God to accomplish His purpose; His will in our lives. He created us with shape. I don’t mean physical shape; I mean with spiritual gifts, a heart with all of it coming together.
"My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." [Psalm 139:15-16, NIV]
God says He saw my shape in the beginning. He wired me up. He even determined my days. What the psalmist is realizing is that God is sovereign. He is in control. He wants to use us in our shape.
Friends, when I say the word, shape, I’m referring to several different things. “S” means spiritual gifts. God has given each of us spiritual gifts. When you become a follower of Jesus Christ you receive a spiritual gift or many spiritual gifts from God. There are over twenty of them mentioned in the Bible. We are going to discover what those are over the next forty days. Many of us are going to learn what our spiritual gifts are.
“H” stands for heart. Heart is what drives us, what motivates us, and what our passion is. It gets to the questions of what do I love to do? What fires me up? That’s our heart. We’ll discover more about ourselves and the heart things that go on in our lives.
“A” stands for ability. We all have different abilities. Some of you are awesome mechanically. You can just look at something and fix it in your mind before you ever touch it. Then you go work on it and immediately it’s fixed. Others of you are more mechanically challenged. Some of you are wonderful in the kitchen. When you are in the kitchen the ability kicks in and you have it going on. The rest of us are so thankful that you are good in the kitchen. Others of us it’s not our ability. Some of you have tremendous gifts with people. People drain others of you and you’re not good with them. Some of you have tremendous abilities with the arts, singing, or painting. The important thing is to discover our abilities and learn how God can use us in those abilities.
“P” stands for personalities. We’re going to discover more about our personalities.
“E” stands for experiences. God has allowed us to go through a lot of things in our different journeys. Some of those things have been good and some have been very difficult. It’s not that I think God brings us through difficult things intentionally but God allows us to go through difficult things. In the midst of that God can use those to touch other people when we surrender our experiences to Him. All of us have been through unique experiences and God wants us to use those experiences to make a difference in someone else’s life. That’s what happens when we begin to discover that we were created with shape. God broke the mold on us so that He could fulfill His purpose.
Third point I want to make is that God created you to live from your shape. Sometimes I think we miss the point when we talk about spiritual gifts and discovering who we are. It’s kind of like the farmer. He goes out duck hunting. He takes a position in the grass and ducks fly out over the lake. He shoots the duck and it falls down right in the middle of this large lake. He looks at his dog and says, “Go get ‘em!” The dog tears out but what amazes him is his dog walks right out across the water, picks the duck up, and runs right back across the water. Doesn’t even get wet. He says, “Whoa!” He shoots another duck. Tells the dog to go get it. The dog runs out across the water, grabs the duck, and runs back, never touching the water. He never gets wet. The farmer thinks this is the most amazing thing he has ever seen. He goes to the next farm to get his farming buddy. He asked him to check this out. They take their position, they shoot a duck and it falls into the lake. The farmer says, “Watch this!” He tells his dog to go get the duck. The dog runs out across the water, gets the duck, and runs all the way across the water. He said, “Have you ever seen anything like that? Is that not the most amazing thing you’ve ever seen?” His friend sets his gun down and says, “I tell you what, I don’t think that dog can swim.” That’s what you call “missing the point!” Right?
When we talk about our shape and how God has designed and wired us up, it’s not to just set it aside so we can continue to live as if nothing changed. It’s to learn all that stuff so it changes how we live. That’s the point. Here’s what it will do for us in our lives: It will begin to teach us and give us insight about why we deal with conflict the way we do. When you start learning more about your shape you start realizing maybe why you have the marital arguments that you have in your relationship. Maybe why you struggle in certain areas as a parent or as a co-worker. It will start to give you insight into all those areas. It will start reducing stress in your life. I’ve learned the more comfortable I become in my own skin and who God created me to be and to live out of that, the more freeing that is. If I spend half my life trying to be like someone else and compare myself to other people - am I as good as they are, do I hold up to their standards and what they do - it will be a very stressful life. But as I begin to live out of my own shape, lean into my own strengths and accept my weaknesses, then God can use my life. It brings a level of significance into our lives. We feel like we’re accomplishing what God wants us to accomplish. You let go of the things that really you are not wired up to do. You focus on the things that God has wired you to do. Realize that you, as you are with your gifts and abilities, are God’s masterpiece.
"How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you." [Psalm 139:17-18, NIV]
Understand when he says that he’s not talking about God’s thoughts in general. The context is he’s talking about God’s thoughts about him. How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand.” He’s saying, “God you think about me. You know me.” How
wonderful an experience that is to realize that. We are all His masterpiece, created by Him to fulfill His purpose. God broke the mold on us.
We are going on a forty day journey. You may be asking, “How do I discover my gifts? What do I do from here?” It’s very simple. We put our hands in God’s hands and we allow Him to do a great thing in our lives. Bishop Kenneth Omer once said, “A basketball in my hand is worth $29.99. A basketball in Shaquille O’Neil’s hand is worth about three million dollars. A golf club in my hand is a very dangerous weapon. A golf club in Tiger Woods’ hand is a golfing champion. Tennis rackets in my hand won’t get the ball very far. Tennis rackets in the Williams sisters’ hands and you have a Wimbledon champion. A football in my hand won’t give you a run for the Super Bowl. A football in Donovan McNab’s hand will at least give you a run even if they don’t win. A brush in my hand will give you a terrible excuse for a painting. A brush in an artist’s hand can create a masterpiece. A life in my hand will lead to a lot of headaches. A life in the hand of God will lead to a life of purpose.”
I want to ask you if you will simply look at your hands. Just look at them. They are unique. Your fingerprints are unlike anyone else’s. For some that’s good, for some that’s not good. Just kidding. These are your hands. They are absolutely unique. God has given them to you. Over the next forty days what we are all committing to do is say, “God I’m going to put my hands in your hands. I’m going to surrender my problems and my life to you.” God will use that to do a great work in our lives.