Chapter 11. Purpose

How many of us live in the pursuit of our purpose and never actually fulfill our purpose?

Perhaps the greatest chapter in this book will be this one.  For without understanding not only our purpose of life, but the purpose for which we have come here, our time will be wasted along with our life!

What would be one of the greatest tragedies of your life is if you left this place worse or the same as when you entered it.  It does not matter if you are here a week, month or several years and do not take advantage of the opportunity to get closer to the purpose of understanding your purpose of life.  It goes without saying as most people who go through life, on the outside, many lives are unfulfilled resulting in anxiety, frustration and depression, those very emotions we’re suffering within the walls, how much more effective would we become if we utilize this time to prepare ourselves—now, for when we leave with a determined purpose and milepost goals guiding us to it?

What is, “purpose”?  Webster’s definition is:

  1. Something set up as an object or end to be attained:  intention; resolution, determination
  2. A  subject under discussion or an action in course of execution—on purpose:  by intent: intentionally 

As children we were often asked:  What do you want to be when you grow up?  Interestingly enough, as even those answers changed during the course of our growing years, and as they should have been, it should have come to come concluding point somewhere before where we are now!  It is more than likely because we never made the distinction what is would be others have had to make the decision for us:  you will be an inmate!  Now, here’s the secret:  you don’t have to remain one.  You can change to something you’d rather be and can attain if you’ve decided this is truly what you’re being called to do.

I had a personal realization I’ll share with you.  During the 70’s and until the mid-80’s I served as volunteer chaplain in various state prisons.  Although married and working for a very good company nothing equaled the joy I felt while serving men, and women, who were incarcerated.  Nothing equaled it! When I had the, and it’s difficult for me to classify it as a “misfortune”, of having to serve time myself beginning in the mid-90’s, that joy was revived.  Even now as I’m writing in 2010, I still have the joy, perhaps even greater, if it were possible, of what I’ve come to experience nearly 40 years ago as I’m still serving those incarcerated.  This has been my calling, my purpose and I’m satisfied doing it.

Now, hold on.  I knew what you’re wanting to ask me just now so I’ll give you an answer:  Due to not knowing or having a higher purpose until now, yes, I’m quite content where I am, but the purpose of serving others can still be realized when I’m told to leave some two years from now.  I have already begun formulating the same sense of service in two categories:

  1.  Personal
  2.  Vocational

Therefore taking the experience as both minister and inmate and fuse them together permitting me to continue with the joy until I am laid to rest.

What about you?  What do you have awaiting the worthiness of your life?  The only way one could ever find their true intent of purpose is to have a relationship with the One who created them in the first place.  Once you’ve come to the reality you were created for a designated purpose, it then makes sense to go to the Designer of your life to understand why you were made.  It is not by chance you are here.  There is a set purpose for your life.

If you were like me and enjoyed putting together models from a kit, no matter how you tried, what was packaged as a car will only look what it is supposed to be pictured on the box no matter how you glued the parts in the shape of a plane!  Of course, today’s youth will suggest they could have both if it were a transformer.  Yes, so true, but even a transformer has to be the one before it could be the other.  Somewhere some of us got stuck somewhere in the middle, never being transformed into anything worthwhile and thankfully there are houses called prisons who have reserved space, for you and me, to sit while we are being constructed into something good and useful.  The word, “useful” actually means, “full of use”.  This is the true definition of, “purpose”.

Every day should begin and end with you and me drawing closer to our designed purpose.  If not, then we’ll continue to occupy these places until either we fulfill the purpose of our lives or merely be the purpose for the fulfillment of someone else’s life!

Chapter 12


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