I have a new car. Not just any car, but a Mustang convertible. I’ve wanted one since I was 10 years old and, though it has taken me an entire Biblical generation of more than 40 years, I now have one. Of course, the weather has not been conducive to driving a convertible over the past couple of weeks; however, I spent a good deal of time yesterday and today driving it. Yesterday I drove to and from Nashville and today drove several hours going from one used furniture store to another in search of office furniture.
The Mustang drives very differently than my Saturn Vue. The Saturn, a mid size SUV, has been, and continues to be, a very dependable utility vehicle. I bought it right after my car accident several years ago. It’s comfortable to drive. I’ve driven it so much that I know when it sounds different, can tell when a tire is low by how it handles, can estimate how large a load can fit in the back, can fairly accurately guess how far I can go after the gas light comes on, know when to tap my brakes or when to just let off the gas. It’s responsive for a utility vehicle. But it is a utility vehicle and I’ve never paid much attention to how it felt when I drove. It has done what I have required of it and accomplishes the purpose for which I bought it.
The Mustang, on the other hand, feels so different. I sit lower in the car. The hood is much longer. It hugs the road. It takes curves so differently – like it’s on rails. It feels effortlessly more powerful. It handles like a thoroughbred. The steering radius is much sharper. Driving this car is a visceral experience and it’s a noticeable difference from driving any other car I’ve owned. I bought it simply for the joy of driving it. In my job of supervising 12 mental health facilities/offices and all of the accompanying serious life issues that accompanies that, I need to consciously balance things out.
So as I do often, I began thinking random thoughts on my way home today. Both cars live up to their names and purposes and I fully expect them to continue to do so. I will be giving the Saturn (which has a 5 star safety rating) to my teenaged stepdaughter and will trust that car to keep her safe and to continue to take her reliably from one place to another. I expect to continue to utilize the Mustang to balance my life with joy as I go from one facility to another and deal with those serious issues of life. Then I began to wonder – am I fulfilling the purpose for which I was created as well as each of those cars are doing? What is my purpose in life? What have I set forth to accomplish above all else? If my purpose in life is to serve God, it’s imperative I stop and think about the types of decisions I will make in life.
Paul’s purpose and mission in life was to live according to the will of God. Everything in Paul’s life was surrounded around his purpose. Paul says: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Tim 4:7-8). As a Christian, I must continue to strive to be cognizant of my purpose in life. Acts 11:23 tells me that Barnabas encouraged Christians in Antioch “that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord.” If I desire to continue to grow in the Lord, I must make this my primary goal in life. Everything else must come second to my relationship with the Lord. Jesus teaches this lesson saying: “So Likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:33).
Does it matter if I’m a sports car or a SUV? Not really. What matters is – am I living out the purpose for which I was called and for which Christ paid with his blood on the cross? Am I consistently and dependably responding to His driving of my life? Paul said, “[For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly]” (Philippians 3:10, amp). Paul knew where he was going. And if I don’t know where I’m going, then I won’t know whether I get there. Paul was essentially saying, “My purpose in life is to know Him. Yes, there are other things that I do, but my primary purpose is to intimately, deeply, and personally know God.” My prayer is that He will help me make His purpose my purpose – that I may know Him more and more every day.