What is purpose? Why is it necessary? How can we find it? Purpose is “the reason for which something is…created” (Oxforddictionaries.com). It is a goal—an intention. Purpose drives us to accomplish something. It helps define who we are and give us the boundaries we need to direct our lives. Without purpose, even we Christians can wander aimlessly and struggle with feeling unfulfilled.
That’s how Charis Bible College student Jackie felt before returning from her second-year missions trip to the Dominican Republic. “Before we left for the DR, we were told that these trips tend to be more for the students that go on them than the people we minister to. They said to expect God to reveal Himself to us in very personal ways and look forward to experiencing a deeper relationship with Him. I didn’t understand how that could happen, but it proved to be very true for me.”
The mission base Charis partners with in the DR is unlike any other in the world. Tim and Trena Johnson are lifelong missionaries. They’ve been on the field for nearly thirty years and have called the DR home for nineteen. When teams journey to work with Tim and Trena, they find not only a place to minister but also a place to be ministered to. Every morning, Pastor Tim takes the time to encourage the students individually and spur them toward discovering God’s giftings in their own lives.
“The first time we went out for ministry, I began to be overcome with fear,” Jackie recalled. “I knew I couldn’t do what I felt the others were asking of me. I’m not a preacher. I don’t sing. I’m not great at drama. I couldn’t figure out why I was even there. But when we arrived, the Spirit of Christ rose up in me, and all I could think of was to reach out and welcome every person I could physically touch. I was fine after that and tried to help wherever I could.”
As their times of ministry (and Tim’s encouragement) continued, Jackie began to find her purpose. “Nothing really dramatic happened to me on this trip. I didn’t see God use me as a frontrunner or teacher, but I did find peace in the DR. Before the trip, I compared myself with those around me, looking at their gifts and talents and feeling condemned for not having my own. I knew 2 Corinthians says this is not wise (2 Cor. 10:12), but it wasn’t until God showed me who I was created to be that I overcame it. God created me to be a helper. He created me to encourage His body through words and small acts of kindness (even cleaning the kitchen). That is my gift, my purpose, and I’m determined to do it wherever I can!”
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms1 Peter 4:10, New International Version