Everyone needs purpose in their lives, the challenge we often face is in finding that purpose.
As parents we desire the best for our children. We recognize the importance the role purpose plays in their lives. For all of us, having a sense of defined purpose gives us hope, energy, and passion in life. Purpose allows us to engage, to bring positive change in our lives and in the lives around us. Without purpose we languish.
Often purpose takes on a role that transcends ourselves. Purpose doesn’t have to be great in the eyes of the public. Often purpose is of a much humbler persuasion. With genuine purpose comes a sense of inner peace. For some, purpose is caring for a family member, for others, purpose might be more public and evident.
For a follower of Christ, purpose contains a deeper, spiritual component. An element of eternity comes to the forefront. Such eternal purposes are most meaningful when aligned with Gods will and very nature. After all, it is God that plants the seeds of desire, that when nurtured, grow to maturity as life a purpose in each of our hearts.
As a parent, it is our high honor to help our kids in their search for meaningful purpose with eternal significance. On the journey to adulthood, our children are striving to understand their roles and purpose in life. As they do this, it’s incumbent upon parents, that we actively enable their quest to identify their life’s purpose. We aught to pray for our children and to engage them in meaningful dialog around this quest.
While on this path towards finding eternal purpose, we must remember to resist the temptation to identify our children’s purpose for them. We may coach, educate, and offer council, but we must allow God free reign in this aspect of their lives.
It’s possible that our children’s purpose may not be in harmony with our personal concepts of purpose for their lives. To be meaningful and to have eternal significance, their purpose must be in alignment with God’s nature. In this we must agree upfront to not interfere with God’s divine plan for our children. To do so would ultimately bring them a lifetime of regret. There can be no higher calling than to align our life’s purpose with God’s eternal purpose.
Such a goal should be sought with the understanding that God’s ways are higher than our own ways. We may not fully grasp the significance of His purposes in our lives or in the lives of our children. Instead we must trust Him, we must choose to walk on a narrow trail of faith that encompasses the reality of God’s constant grace to his children.
When William Borden graduated from a Chicago high school in 1904, he was heir to the Borden Dairy estate, which made him a millionaire. For his graduation present, his parents gave him a trip around the world.
As the young man traveled through Asia, the Middle East, and Europe, he felt a growing burden for the world’s hurting people. Finally, Borden wrote home to say, “I’m going to give my life to prepare for the mission field.” At the same time, he wrote two words in the back of his Bible: “No reserves.”
Perhaps his parents would have wanted him to take over the family business or enter into some other aspect of business. Yet despite such promising opportunities, Borden never wavered in what he believed to be a higher calling, a higher purpose, a purpose cloaked in eternal significance.
While attending Yale, Borden started numerous Bible study groups. By the time he graduated, more than half the student body were participating in his Bible study groups in one form or another. When he wasn’t ministering to students on campus, he was ministering to the poor on the streets of New Haven.
Upon graduation from Yale, Borden wrote two more words in the back of his Bible: “No retreats.”
With his family name and education, he was quickly offered several lucrative job opportunities upon graduation from Yale. In the face of these offers, he stayed true to his purpose and turned them all down, enrolling in Seminary instead.
Upon graduation from seminary, he traveled to Egypt to learn Arabic so he could work with Muslims in China. While in Egypt, Borden contracted spinal meningitis. He died within a month at the young age of twenty-five.
Prior to his death, Borden wrote two more words in his Bible. Underneath the words “No reserves” and “No retreats,” he wrote, “No regrets.”1
While we can’t always understand God’s plans and purposes, we can be confident that when we follow His plan for our lives, plans that are consistent with His character, we will live a life of no regrets.
In the eyes of those outside of God’s kingdom, Borden’s life may have seemed wasted, perhaps even unfair. But the truth is, none of us know how many years we’ve been given to live out our earthly life, but for Borden, he viewed his life from an eternal perspective, he trusted God for his eternal purpose, and that’s what allowed him to live his life fully (John 10:10) with no regrets.
For those of us that God allows to live for many years, we have the double challenge of keeping God’s purpose alive for the long run. Perhaps your purpose is to help others by working in a retail setting, perhaps it’s to bring comfort over a lifetime of service to countless patients as a member of the medical profession, or to minister to co-workers in a business setting, or to give hope to troubled students in the teaching profession. Whatever your eternal purpose, do it to the glory of God, and live your life with no regrets.