Adapted from a sermon first delivered by Rev. Robert Ball, Senior Pastor of Epworth United Methodist Church.
WHAT'S IT ALL ABOUT? WHAT ON EARTH AM I HERE FOR? First, let me say that this is not a new question. This question has puzzled people for thousands of years. When we look back to the very first human story we find Adam and Eve struggling with the question, "What on earth am I here for?"
Remember the story of Adam and Eve talking with the serpent, which was the form of Satan at the time. Remember the conversation? It went something like this. Satan says to Eve, "Tell me about this garden." Eve says, "Well, we can eat of any tree in the garden except that one." Satan says, "So why can't you eat of that tree?" "Well," says Eve, "because God told us that if we ate of that tree we would surely die."
Satan says with an attitude of disbelief, "No way. You will not die if you eat of that tree. God doesn't want you to eat of that tree because you will become like Him. You will become a god." Isn't the basic question underlying this conversation, "What on earth am I here for?"
What about the story of Cain and Abel? Cain kills his brother Abel and buries his body. Then he acts like nothing has happened. When God asks Cain, "Where is your brother?" In essence, Cain's reply is a response to the question, "What on earth am I here for?" Cain says, "Am I my brother's keeper?"
Let skip over to Moses. Moses is tending the sheep of his father-in-law, Jethro, when he sees a bush burning, which is not consumed by the fire. When he approaches the bush, the voice of God speaks and tells Moses to go back to Egypt . "Tell Pharaoh to let my people go." But Moses, struggling with the question, "What on earth am I here for?" says, "But Lord, I cannot speak to the Pharaoh. I stutter." In other words, "This can't be my purpose."
Most often, when we think of the search for the purpose of life, we realize that it is really a struggle of the soul. This is not easy stuff. Moses spent 40 days on Mt. Sinai . The Children of Israel spent 40 years in the wilderness. The entire city of Nineveh was transformed when God gave them 40 days to repent. Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness. The disciples had 40 days with Jesus after the resurrection to the ascension. The number 40 means that it took a long time.
Our search for our purpose is not something that can happen overnight. Many of early church fathers spend most of their life searching for that sense of meaning and purpose. Often people run from this experience. Many times God calls us to step out of our comfort zone where we have to depend upon God for our support. Yet, more times than not, we seek to fulfill what feels good to us.
If we want to discover our purpose we have to begin with God. I like to think of purpose as a "call." God calls us to service -- to live a life that is Christ-centered. To be the hands and feet of Christ in everyday life, and do what's right. It is living a God-honoring life.
In Psalm 8 the Psalmist says, "O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth." He then goes on to talk about the formation of the mountains, the valleys, the rivers and oceans, and the heavens all of which were created to honor God.
He says in essence, the waters roar with praise, the mountains exalt the God, and the heavens declare God's glory. When you look into the heavens at night and see the stars do you not sense the heavens declaring God's glory?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Rev. Bob Ball is the Senior Pastor of Epworth United Methodist Church in Toledo. Epworth is an exciting, growing, and dynamic church with a heart for missions and a passion to grow in its faith in Christ and service to the world. If you are looking for a church where people are friendly and welcoming, we invite you to try Epworth.
Epworth offers three Sunday morning services: at 8:30 a.m., our blended worship service brings together a traditional worship style and a contemporary flair. Our traditional worship service begins at 9:45 a.m., followed by the contemporary worship service at 11. We are located at the corner of Valleyview and Central Avenue in Toledo, across from Wildwood Metropark.
Epworth United Methodist Church
3077 Valleyview Drive
Toledo, OH 43615-2237
Telephone : 419-531-4236
FAX : 419-531-7487