Thursday, June 3, 2010

Life: On Purpose – or Accidental?

There’s a movie I have never seen, “The Accidental Tourist,” based on a novel I have never read. But the title intrigues me – is it about someone that took a wrong turn and wound up merged into a tour group? In 2008 a film was released called, “The Accidental Husband.” I think its sequel was called, “The Intentional Divorce.” There’s even a wine distillery called The Accidental Wine Company. Oops, we must have left the grape juice out too long!

It just seems so much in life goes on that’s accidental – and I’m not referring to fender-benders. Too many of us float through life, like waves “blown and tossed by the wind” as James 1:6 describes it. Some of us stumble through careers as aimlessly as flipping through TV channels with the remote. We connect and disconnect relationships haphazardly. “Life happens,” the bumper sticker informs us.

Maybe that’s one explanation for Rick Warren’s book, The Purpose-Driven Life, being so well-received. Deep down we sense the need for purpose – a cause for simply being. Why am I here? What’s my purpose? Answer those questions, set sail accordingly, and you’ll find fulfillment.

Years ago I was challenged to formulate a personal “purpose statement,” an expression of what I should be about. That seemed an excellent idea. It would be good to have a purpose – a life target to aim for.

I didn’t have to go to great lengths of articulate my purpose. Someone had already done it for me. In the first part of Philippians 3:10 in the Amplified Translation of the Bible, the apostle Paul states, “For my determined purpose is that I may know Him – that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him; perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly.”

When I read that, I simply thought, “That’s it. If that was good enough for Paul, it’s good enough for me.”

In the years since, that purpose statement has served well. In one way or another (albeit not perfectly) everything I do – writing and editing, photography, mentoring, being husband, dad and grandfather – flows out of that declaration.

Some things in my life are accidental, often in a good way, but I’d like to think an underlying purpose serves to guide my daily activities and interactions.

Do you know your purpose?

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