Faith | Work | Culture

This past week I had the opportunity to hear Pastor Tony Evans speak at Huntington University and Disciple Pastor Alex Mandura at College Wesleyan Church. And quite honestly, they both spoke on a topic I’ve been chewing on for quite some time, People, Purpose, and Platforms.

Let’s start with Tony Evans first. He specifically spoke on Acts 13:36:

“For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep…”

In 30-minutes, Dr. Evans clearly showed us that David accomplished what God had put him on earth to achieve. He said, “We will all die, and the only thing we will leave behind is the eternal impact we have made on others.” He challenged us to passionately pursue God’s purpose for our life, not ours.

When I was a young girl, I had some big dreams for my life. Everything from being a famous singer/dancer, marrying a Christian musician, owning my own business, and being a sought-after ministry leader, speaker, and author.

I never imagined myself working in education, in a classroom, full-time. Yes, I played school and teacher in my room with my chalkboard and stuffed animals as the students, but that was for fun. I didn’t ever see myself as a teacher.

Why? Because I wanted to be something more significant. Being a teacher wasn’t “big” enough in my young, immature mind. Truthfully, I wanted to fulfill my purpose, hopes, and dreams. I was more concerned about my platform than I was about people and God’s purpose for my life.

Culture today is filled with many cliché statements that we tend to take as truth:

  • “Do what you love, and you’ll never work another day in your life.”
  • “Do whatever makes you happy.”
  • “Life’s better when you’re happy.”
  • “Do more of whatever makes you happy.”
  • “Don’t live your life for anyone else but you.”

Not only do we have these cliché statements filling our minds, but a recent study also found that a “high percentage of teenagers aspire to fame and fortune via YouTube or another social media platform.” Additionally, “54% of Americans aged 13 to 38 would become an ‘influencer’ given the chance…”

Here’s the issue: It’s all about us and what we want. We’ve fallen for the lie that fame, fortune, and being known bring happiness and contentment. We’ve fallen for the belief that “success,” according to culture, is what we should aim for. And, we’ve fallen prey to believing that pursuing our purpose is what makes life great. As Lady Gaga sings, we are living for the applause:

I live for the applause, applause, applause
I live for the applause-plause, live for the applause-plause, live for the-
Way that you cheer and scream for me
The applause, applause, applause

But yet, God’s ways are different. How do we find our purpose? How do we find true fulfillment and success in our lives and careers?

By pursuing His purpose in our generation and shepherding His sheep.

In church today, Discipleship Pastor Alex Mandura spoke on shepherding. Specifically, shepherding over success. For far too long, we have become obsessed with becoming “successful.” We have done anything and everything to pursue a life of success according to what culture says success is, which includes:

  • doing whatever you want
  • doing whatever makes you happy
  • doing whatever it takes to get to the top
  • doing whatever it takes to be known
  • doing whatever it takes to build your platform
  • doing whatever it takes to pursue your goals and dreams
  • doing whatever it takes to get the applause

And it is these “empty metrics that have eroded our hope, souls, and contentment” (Alex Mandura). We have failed to realize that what makes our work successful is “pursuing His purpose for our generation” and shepherding the sheep that God has called us to.

Is it any surprise that in John 21, Jesus asks Peter three times, “do you love me?” Each time when Peter says, “yes Lord, you know I love you,” Jesus responds by saying:

  • Feed my lambs
  • Take care of my sheep

Jesus didn’t say:

  • “If you love me, do what makes you happy.”
  • “If you love me, be known.”
  • “If you love me, build your platform.”
  • “If you love me, pursue your goals and dreams.”
  • “If you love me, get to the top.”

What does this mean for us today? It means that if we want to experience purposeful living and a life well-lived, we must pursue His purpose in our generation and shepherd the people He has called us to shepherd.

That young girl who at one point wanted to pursue all the other stuff has found a deep, fulfilling purpose in teaching and shepherding students at a Christian University.

Friends, don’t be afraid to pursue what God has called you to pursue, even when it makes no sense. Why? Because “shepherds don’t live their life on a platform” (Steve DeNeff). Shepherds seek the purpose that God has given them for their generation.

Yes, I want to sign up!

Remember, whatever you do, it matters. Wherever God places you, you can make a Kingdom impact!

Success... I look forward to connecting with you!