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Dane Skelton is the Pastor of Faith Community Church and the author of Jungle Flight: Spiritual Adventures at the Ends of the Earth, a book of true stories from the ministry of JAARS (formerly Jungle Aviation and Radio Service). His second book, Papua Pilot: Flying the Bible to the Last Lost Peoples, co-authored with the late Paul Westlund, is now available on Amazon.com and Christianbook.com.
The Bible is a book filled with purpose. Of course, God’s purposes ring through on practically every page. Jesus was clearly a man with a purpose, as he said on many occasions, like Luke 4:43. “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose.” (emphasis mine).
The Apostle Paul was also a singularly focused man. All of the Apostles were like that after Pentecost. They had an overriding purpose for remaining on planet earth, and it had nothing to do with their personal wellbeing. Starting from nothing, in the power of the Spirit, they built the kingdom of God brick by brick in their service and sacrifice. It took incredible focus, purposefulness of life to do that, but fulfilling it gave them joy.
Do you know your purpose? Or are you drifting in the wind? Purposelessness seems epidemic. I see a lot of drift, a lot of young men (and some young women) waiting for something good to come into their lives, or some perfect situation to present itself before they will really commit: to a marriage, a major, a job, a career, a ministry, a life! The ability to accept less than ideal circumstances while the work of building a life goes forward seems foreign. (Sometimes I see that same drift in the church: people wait for the ideal situation, one that fits their lifestyle, before they will serve. But that’s another story).
I don’t want to be one of those preachers that condemn every kind of recreation. But I can’t help wondering if video games and the whole computerized experience don’t contribute to this a little bit. Don’t get me wrong. I think you can learn a lot from good video games and simulators. I plan to do some of my flight training on one. But the thing about video games is this: The whole world of the game is already created for you by someone else.
Let me illustrate. I want to fly a real airplane called the Grumman Tiger. But I can get a simulated one on my computer for almost free. Everything is there: The controls, the instruments, the scenery, and the airports. 90% of what I need to “fly” is there. Someone already built the world that it flies in it for me, wrote all the code, created the graphics, tested the performance, inserted all of the coordinates for the airports. It’s all there. I never have to put gas in the plane. I don’t have to join the AOPA to protect my right to fly or vote for local politicians who believe enough in aviation to keep the airport open, or pay taxes to maintain it. I don’t have to earn enough money at work to pay for life plus the luxury of owning and operating an airplane. All I have to do is turn it on and fly it.
Hey guys! I’ve got news for you: No one is going to hand you a life. You can’t push a button and step into a complete world, be it a marriage, a career, or a ministry. You’re going to have to build it from the ground up. That’s going to require you to do three things:
1. Look outside yourself and see what needs to be done.
2. Consider your gifts, passions and abilities and determine your purpose – what God is calling you to contribute to the world and his kingdom. As Frederick Buechner has said, “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep need meet.”
3. Refuse to drift. Trust God and go out and start doing it, start building the world you want to live in, brick by brick.
What the bull’s eye is to the archer, purpose is to life. Find your target, set your arrow on the string, take your aim and let it fly!