“The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me.” – Psalm 138:8
Viktor Frankl, the highly respected neurologist and psychiatrist, wrote “Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by a lack of meaning and purpose.” Frankl knew about living in difficult circumstances – he was a prisoner at both the Auschwitz and Dachau concentration camps during World War Two. There he saw, first hand, that a strong sense of purpose can get people through even some of the most difficult circumstances. He also saw in his research and observation how a lack of purpose can make even relatively comfortable circumstances unbearable. People need purpose. We were made for it.
At St. Paul’s, we are exploring God’s purpose for our lives by examining 5 aspects of how we have been shaped by God for his purposes. These aspects are outlined in the acronym SHAPE, developed by Pastor Rick Warren. SHAPE stands for Spiritual gifts, Heart, Abilities, Personality, and Experience. This Sunday we’re continuing our journey by taking a closer look at our Abilities.
Our abilities come to us from many sources. Some things we are just born able to do. Other things come to us through our education and training, our professional and life experiences, as well as past-times and hobbies. And there are many different sources of encouragement that drive people to further develop their abilities. These may include financial gain, recognition from peers, and/or the sheer pleasure of doing something well. But our abilities have been given to us to accomplish so much more than any of these things.
The reason we have the ability to do anything is ultimately thanks to God. As Psalm 100:3 says, in the old King James Version, “Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves.” God is ultimately the source of our abilities and knows, better than anyone else, the ultimate purpose for which we have been given these abilities. It’s as we turn to him, and in a sense offer our abilities back to God, that we will find the purpose that we really crave.
I hope you can join us on Sunday as we learn more about how God wants to make the most of our abilities.
Rev. David Turner+