Living With Purpose

“I save lives.”

These are some of the very first words he ever spoke to me.  It was my first Sunday with a congregation and a parishioner was introducing himself to me.  “I save lives,” he started.  He then continued, “I’m a database developer and trainer for the United States Army.  I am retired, but work as a civilian.  I develop data systems and train men and women on them so that lives can be saved in the field.”

He didn’t start with, “I’m retired.”

He didn’t start with, “I work for the army as a civilian.”

He didn’t start with, “I develop and train people on databases.”

All of these things are true, but they weren’t primary for him.  He began his introduction to me by naming his purpose.

“I save lives.”

This man can clearly state his purpose and understands that the things he does are a part of accomplishing that purpose.

During this time of transition for United Methodist Clergy and Congregations I find myself thinking about this type of purposeful living.  Imagine if all United Methodist Clergy and Congregations understood their purpose with such singular purpose!  Pastors and leaders in congregations could say, “I save lives.”  Congregations could proclaim, “We save lives.”

Sure we have worship, and small groups, and classes, and service projects, and potlucks, and men’s groups, and women’s groups, and youth groups, and children’s programs but these aren’t the purpose of our work.  They are simply the different ways in which we work toward our purpose of saving lives.


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