Do you ever wonder why God put you here? Why now at this time in history? Why now with your unique life story, with your particular gifts and talents? Why? As Mark Twain said, “The two most important days are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”
I talk to many people living without any sense of that “Why?” Let us go straight to God and to His Word to find out God’s “Why?” for you. The apostle Paul speaks to this in 1 Corinthians 1:1-2: “Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes. To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, together with all those who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours.”
First, we see that Paul knows why he is here, he knows God’s calling and will for him: “called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, by the will of God…” Second, Paul also wants all Christians to know why we are here, in other words, to know our calling: “to those who are sanctified, called to be saints…”.
Note that Paul addresses Christians as “those who are sanctified”, that is, they are literally “set apart for a holy purpose” (Greek: hagiazo). This was a word used in the Greek translation of the Old Testament (Septuagint) for the setting apart of the Sabbath as holy, along with the temple, the ark of the covenant, the priests and sacrifices. That is why the apostle can call Christians, “saints”, having been set apart for God’s holy purposes in the world. We must not think of saints as a special class of Christians, or as super-spiritual and living apart from the world. Rather, Christians are set apart as holy, as belonging to God, so that God can use them for His service. Thus, “saint” is the apostle Paul’s favorite way to speak of Christians.
When our two sons, Rhett and Wyatt, were little, I noticed tools missing from my toolbox. They might “borrow” a hammer or screwdriver and “forget” to return it. So one Christmas my wife and I gave each boy his own toolbox, with his name on it. We might say their tool boxes, as well as mine, were ‘holy’, that is, set apart, belonging to each owner to use for his work and purpose.
I have a friend who, when asked his profession, likes to say, “I am a servant of Jesus Christ who does plumbing to pay the bills.” My friend has a clear sense of what it means to be a saint, and a clear sense of why he is here.
Often when I greet a friend I like to call him or her “Saint”; “Hi, Saint Thomas!” “Hi, Saint Martha!” It is always good to be reminded of how important we are to God and why He put us here.
We remember George Washington Carver as both a great scientist and someone who knew why he was here. He discovered 300 uses for the peanut, and did so much more. Mr. Carver described beginning each day by getting up at four o’clock in the morning, going out into nearby woods to talk with God. He said it was there that God gave him His orders for the day.
How wonderful to know that you are special to God and set apart by Him for His work in the world! How wonderful to listen for His orders for you each day!
Name and reflect on the thoughts and feelings today’s reading stirs in you. Take a few moments to talk with God about them.