Purpose: The Why

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An Appeal to Purpose

Have you ever heard the expression, “Everything has its place and everything is in its place”? Maybe not, but now you have—or at least you have read it. Well that expression when properly understood really holds a key to understanding life and possibly even death. Now that may seem a bit out of bounds, and may sound like I’m out of touch with reality. However when we break that expression down into its component parts and examine it in its abstract meaning we’ll have an answer to “Why?” as my grandchildren ask so often. That expression really addresses the concept of purpose. I recall a conversation about yellow jackets (You know the little flying critters.) that I had with the bulldozer operator during clearing of some land for me in Smith County a few years ago. He had upset some yellow jackets and been stung. He wondered what the purpose of yellow jackets was.

Can we understand the purpose of something regardless of the something? How important is it to understand the purpose of something? Why should we try to find purpose in all things? Is it possible to understand the purpose of something? If we find the purpose of something, will this help us understand how it functions? Should we search for purpose before we search for how something functions? Are these legitimate questions? Should we be asking these questions? If you are frustrated by now, don’t go away just yet. Learning is about questions not answers. Questions get us started toward the answers. I recall that years ago when I taught future instructors for the Air Force that I tried to teach them to determine how to ask questions. I told them that if they thought they had a problem then if they could not come up with a good question they probably did not have a problem. Veiled within the above questions are the issue that all things in existence have a purpose and until we find the purpose we really will not understand how to function in life. Function is how something works or operates. Purpose is the reason for a thing’s existence and goal. So do we look for purpose or do we look for function?

Suppose you gave me a watch and I had never seen one, never touched one, never been told what it was. When you gave it to me I saw the second hand moving. Remember I did not know the purpose of the watch. I did not know what time was or the purpose for keeping time. Now the second hand stopped moving. What do I do? Do I toss the watch in the trash can? I probably would because I saw no use for the watch. But no, the person who gave me the watch says “Well it was supposed to keep time but it has stopped running. I’ll get it repaired.” Now remember I do not know the purpose of the watch but a new word has been injected into my head. Time! In order to understand the purpose of the watch, I must be taught what time is and how my life fits into time. Then my understanding of the watch will grow, and even how it functions will become understandable. To the best of my knowledge, only God knows the purpose of time. I could say on a human level that time gives us history. But God has a purpose and I can only guess at His purpose. The only thing I can do is look at the history of this earth and surmise that it relates to history.

In summing up thinking about purpose, I can say that all things have purpose. I can say that all living things function in some manner and in those things where I am shown a behavior I can figure out their purpose. There is a relationship of function (how something works), purpose (the why) and goal (future end point of behavior). If I only understand how something functions (works), then I will be locked in time and understanding of the something. I will not know the purpose or goal. If I understand purpose, then I can know why (reason for existence) and figure out how something works (its function) and, with great probability, determine the goal (what the something wants in behaving or where it is going). A thought to add is that a goal can be external or internal. This means that something outside of me can set my goal and something inside of me can set my goal.

Now why have I presented these thoughts about purpose? Of course you know that I have a goal. If there was no purpose I would not have a goal. My goal is to help you understand human behavior and existence. BUT to do that we must have some understanding of WHY we (I) exist. Purpose in existence is the key. Psychologists and psychiatrists have expended mega amounts of time, personal energy and money on understanding human behavior and thinking while trying to change them. They (I was part of them) have developed a standard for human behavior and written books on what is normal and what is abnormal. They truly believe in their standards. HERE IS THE BIG QUESTION THAT HAS NOT BEEN ANSWERED BY MOST. (Some who believe in a Holy God and have a new way of thinking know man’s purpose.) WHY DO WE EXIST? Using my logic of function, purpose and goal AND belief in the existence of God, we can come to know the purpose of humans. (It is easy to know why we exist if we truly believe in a God who redeems a people) If we do not believe in the existence of God, we are primarily locked in to focusing on the function of man, or we attempt to get others to believe that we do know why we exist. However, each person will hold their individual belief of man’s existence. The big question is where does that lead us humans in interactive relationships? The answer is simple. We have major problems in relating, and we can see that in crimes against each other. As the old expression goes, “We stew in our on juices.” In fact, if we read Romans 2:28 we see what His Word tells us we will know that He leaves us to stew in our own making. SAD! SAD! Also He tells us why (purpose) we exist. Read Isaiah 43:7. He tells us in His word what our behavior will be if we do not believe in GOD our creator and Christ as LORD. Have you ever heard the expression “You can’t put a square peg in a round hole”? I hope you have. Our society today has very few truly meaningful abstract terms that relate to life. Anyway the meaning is that if you try to use something, whatever it may be, that it was not made for, it may work somewhat but in the end it will always be troublesome. Now draw that idea to us humans. If God created us for His glory (our purpose) and we are not doing that (our function), then we will continually be “out of sorts” as the old folks used to say. We will be miserable and constantly searching for meaning and our niche. We will not know the joy that comes from knowing, serving and glorifying Holy God.

Man (humans) continues to try to reinvent the wheel. God has already told us about our behavior and purpose, but we continue to believe that we’ve got the answer to end all answers. We see it in political leaders who tell us how to behave and what to believe. Most of their thinking goes like this, “If people can go to anger management classes, tolerate the behavior of others even though it may be destructive to them and others, not have any negative thoughts of other’s behavior who are bent on destroying people, not be responsible for one’s existence (behavior and life in general), let people do what they feel like doing, and believe that there is no evil on the planet then all will be well.” In other words, let all be a god unto themselves. They say, “If we could just get along with each other.” Now that sounds good and there is validity to that, but if all people do not know their created purpose and function toward that purpose, getting along with each other will never take place. The only way it can is to live in isolation. All human beings need a great unifier which is outside themselves in order to “love thy neighbor.” I recall that in the 1970’s there was a TV commercial that presented a vast number of people on earth just singing and loving each other. That came from the generation of people who just loved and wanted the whole world to love. They were trying to find meaning in life. I’ve heard the expression, “I just need to find myself.” Bottom line is that we can only “find” ourselves when we find God and know our purpose in existence.

I have reached the end. Now for the final question. Do you believe in God who created you and know how you behave, why you exist, and what your goal is? If you don’t then you (I) will “stew in life as we make it”. If you (I) do believe in HIM then we will have a goal, know our only purpose, and behave in a manner that will love God, others and self. WE WILL LOOK TO HIM IN FAITH AND ENJOY A JOY UNSPEAKABLE WHEN ALL AROUND US THE WORLD IS FALLING APART and LIFE SEEMS HOPELESS. What is YOUR purpose?

My prayer is that your only purpose is to GLORIFY GOD AND ENJOY HIM FOREVER. May the God of the universe bless and keep you.

Praise GOD above all earthly powers.

Soli Deo Gloria

In Him,

Dewey Wise

April 29, 2009

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