I admire architecture with artistic details. Last week I completed this Ink with Pen and Brush of the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis. It has an interesting history.
Swan J. Turnblad (October 7, 1860 – May 17, 1933) was an American (Swedish) newspaper publisher in Minneapolis. In 1903, Turnblad commissioned the building of this mansion on Park Avenue in Minneapolis. The Chateauesque-style 33-room mansion was built at a cost of $1.5 million ($42.7 million in 2019) and took four years to complete. After Turnblad’s wife died in 1929, he and his daughter (only child) moved into their apartment across the street full-time and turned their former home into a museum, later renamed American Swedish Institute for the purpose of preserving Swedish customs and culture. I thought it a good Art piece for our Thought—Purpose.
You probably have a set of keys, either in your pocket, or purse if not hanging on a hook by the door: One key for your car and one for your home. Each key has a purpose. Each has a specific and unique purpose. I see three things true of each key:
- It did not choose its own purpose: That was determined by someone to meet a specific need.
- It did not design or create itself: Its design and creation was by a source outside itself.
- It cannot change its purpose: It may be misused, but its purpose will not change.
I see a similarity between those keys and your life. Whether you (and all people) realize it or not, we each have a purpose. We did not choose our purpose. We did not design or create it and we cannot change our purpose. Actually, we all have the same purpose.
The Purpose Driven Life
Not long before my retirement as Pastor, where I served for more than two decades, I brought a series of Sunday Sermons titled The Purpose Driven Life, partly inspired by Rick Warren’s 2002 New York Times Bestsellers List book, The Purpose Driven Life, What on Earth am I Here For?
I purchased ten copies of the book, wrote a letter of explanation and invitation to a series of discussion group meetings we would be hosting in our home on the subject of purpose in our lives. I took the book and invitation letter to the ten homes in our cul-de-sac. The next day, one neighbor responded to the invitation by email to say that she was driving home from work that afternoon, wondering about the purpose of her own life. There, in her front door, was a free book with an invitation! She, along with her mother and another neighbor, participated in the meetings. Rick Warren began the first chapter with words we hear often today…
“It’s not about you.
“The purpose of your life is far greater than your own personal fulfillment, your peace of mind, or even your happiness. It’s far greater than your family, your career, or even your wildest dreams and ambitions. If you want to know why you were placed on this planet, you must begin with God. You were born into his purpose and for his purpose.”
For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible…everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him... Colossians 1:16 (Msg.)
God’s wisdom…goes deep into the interior of his purposes…It’s not the latest message but more like the oldest—what God determined as the way to bring out his best in us. 1 Corinthians 2:7 (Msg.)
You, and every other human being, are unique in many ways: looks, talents, gifts, ethnicity, and the list goes on. However, everyone was created with the same mutually beneficial common purpose of growing in our experience and representation of God our creator in his world. Those words to describe our uniqueness are important avenues by which we are blessed individually to serve our common purpose as God’s ambassadors to his creation. They are not our purpose. They are means to the end—fulfilling our common purpose.
It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone. Ephesians 1:11 (Msg.)
“Unless you assume a God, the question of life’s purpose is meaningless.” — Bertrand Russel, atheist
The Bible says, It is God who directs the lives of his creatures; everyone’s life is in his power. Romans 12:2 (NLT)
You are special with a special Purpose.
Go, in Peace, and serve the Lord!