I can remember in my teenage years wondering what my purpose in life was to be. My logical thinking, mathematical-brained father had me taking tests that showed my strengths & weaknesses, my interests and talents. While designed to help people determine their future steps, I’m not sure I knew myself well enough to really learn from those tests. One thing I did know though is that I wanted to work with children. But what exactly I wanted to do with them remained a mystery. I discovered in college that social work was not for me. It only took one agonizing semester to show me that!

Christian education (education through the church) seemed like the right path for me until God lead me to elementary education through a long series of changes. I was drawn to education early on, but was afraid of the work load of all things! And I wanted to do something more glamorous for God – something ministry minded. I thought being a missionary or a pastor’s wife would be so much more fulfilling than just teaching school. I’ve often thought that had I followed that early instinct, I would’ve saved myself a lot of anxiety and my parents a lot of money. But I think God used those “wondering” years as a time to develop some character in me that was needed and to strengthen my faith. He drew me to his true purpose for my life in a roundabout way, but I learned so much!  A school teacher fulfilling her God-given purpose can touch more lives and be a greater blessing than a missionary trying to do something God has not gifted or called him to.

If God’s purpose for you is not so clear, just put yourself in a place where you are open to hear his voice and be obedient – even in the small stuff. I should say especially in the small stuff! It is in the small stuff that we often see God’s leading – at least for me this has proven true. Those years of teaching in a public school system were very tough, but very rewarding. And they laid a foundation for how I approach my teaching within the church and how I teach my own children. Finding God’s purpose for your life is not a one-time deal. Sometimes he leads us to one thing simply to prepare us for another. I don’t doubt I will find myself back in an elementary teaching role within the public school system in the future, but for now I am more than content doing what I am in children’s ministry and I know I am fulfilling a part of God’s purpose for my life. I also have no doubt that God is already preparing someone who will step up and take over this ministry when the time comes for me to move on – whether they realize it or not! I just hope they realize it when the time comes and that they are obedient…

Our purposes may not be as glamorous as we’d like, after all if I could’ve chosen, I’d have asked God to give me a beautiful solo quality voice that draws people. I can sing and I enjoy it, but I do not have the type of voice I would like to. Perhaps someday in heaven…. But even though I am not a Vickie Adams, I can still be used by God to sing in the choir. And I feel his blessing. I am using a gift he gave me – even if it is not as good as someone else’s.

You do not have to be the best to be used!

There are so many places God can use the gifts he has given each of us – if only we are not too proud, too scared, or too busy to be used. A new ministry could be started that could save lives, marriages and families if only we would be obedient. There are also many great current ministries that need help to keep afloat:

  • nursery workers
  • teachers
  • singers
  • instrumentalists
  • mentors
  • counselors
  • handy-men

And that’s just to name a few! They are all sorely needed. There is a saying that in most churches 80% of the work is done by 20% of the people. Sadly, that percentage often appears to be more like 90/10. So many people have not realized that God created them for a purpose – a purpose to bring others to a knowledge of Him.

When it comes down to it, is there any greater purpose we can follow?

I encourage us all to do as our Pastor suggested last week and find where you are gifted. Discover what you can do to perfect those gifts and where you can best be put to use. Your church needs you! And there is no greater joy than being used by God to fulfill a purpose for which he created you!

~Tara Hensel