For what purpose?
In one of my former roles I was the Operations Director for a humanitarian organisation. I was responsible for sending out a team to do a survey/investigation with regards to understanding the scope of a disaster and planning a response. I quickly learnt that the answers we got from this survey would depend on the questions we asked. More than this, the questions we asked were determined by our interests. If I sent a medical person out to do the survey, we always ended up with a medical response. If I sent a food security person out, we had a food security response.
If I had never come across a washing machine before and was suddnely confronted with one, it would be hard to know exactly what its purpose is. I might take it apart to understand how it is made and try and understand what it was created to do. But it would be a lot easier if I had the handbook on it, and even better if I could meet the designer, as together they would explain the purpose of the machine. I could then choose to use it for its original purpose or decide to use it for another purpose such as a table. Similarly, if I were to encounter a parachute I would not know what it was designed for, but once it was explained to me, to use it I would have to put my life in the designer’s hand and trust that it will work for me when I jump out the plane.
It all comes down to the question: For what purpose are we created?
If we say that life is an accidental result of a struggle for existence, and success is measured by the evolutionary principle of the survival of the fittest, what does this say about our understanding of success? What does it say about how (or why) we should care for the poor, those with disabilities, the oppressed and marginalised and the vulnerable.
Perhaps one could argue that the value of philanthropy goes against the grain of evolution, but that still leaves the question -- what is the purpose of it all?
Here we need to ask the Designer and read the Handbook. In doing so, we learn that God created us in his image to live in relationship with him. He tasked us with the care of all he created. And even when we chose (and often keep choosing) to avoid this relationship and responsibility, he pursued us in love, becoming one of us, demonstrating what walking in relationship and responsibility looks like. He declared clearly what his purpose is:
John 10:10 – That we may have life in all its fullness
Colossians 1: 20 – to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood shed on the cross.
If our questions and actions are determined by our interests – then surely our interests should be the same as our Father’s?
As we pray through the points below, as we face daily decisions in our life, ministry, community and nation – let us remind one another about our shared purpose. Let's ask the Designer for his wisdom on how things should work and let's read the Handbook to guide us through the call to be ministers of reconciliation.
Lord, here we are, send us.