"What If" Part 4: Purpose
The most recent Global Peace Index came out, and while I could not find the rankings list easily, I saw a report stating that the 3 countries with the greatest increase in danger from 2021 to 2022 were Haiti, Burkina Faso, and Guinea. Even today, there are reports that flights have been cancelled because all roads leading to the airport are blocked with protesters. Please continue to pray!
Today, our "What If" topic can be stated like this "What if you were trying to find the purpose for your life in Haiti?"
This is a really big question and the discussion could go in a myriad of directions, but I want to narrow the topic and discuss what it is like to search for direction and purpose in your life when you cannot even find your next meal.
You see, Haiti is a mostly Christian nation. There is a saying, I'm not sure who it is attributed to, but it says, "Haiti is 90% Catholic and 100% voodoo." Of course, this is not true, but it is an interesting description of the spiritual makeup of the nation.
The truth is, there are a lot of Christians in Haiti. A lot of Haitians would say that they love God and have accepted Jesus as their Savior. As Christians, we have a built-in purpose for our lives, to bring glory to GOD.
The problem is, as you know if you are reading this, that simple purpose of glorifying God seems succinct and easy in theory, but in practice it is very difficult, no matter where we live.
In the church, and especially with youth (I was a youth pastor for 15 years prior to moving to Haiti) finding a direction and purpose for your life is a major thing. The question "What does God want from and for me?" is probably one of the most asked questions you will ever hear.
In addition, when I have gotten the opportunity to preach occasionally over the past few years in America, I get the distinct impression that same question is bubbling to the surface in most adults as well.
Things have changed over the past couple of years, and there seems to be a renewed sense of wanting purpose in our lives, but also a depressing sense of "The Church" (both the local and universal church) being more and more on the periphery of what our purpose should be.
In Haiti, on the other hand, the church is at the absolute center of almost every aspect of life. Social events, Bible studies, worship services, etc. are all tied inexorably to the church but that does not seem to be translating into a society that brings glory to God. In fact, the opposite effect has been occurring.
So, "What if you were trying to find the purpose of your life in Haiti?" How difficult is that when even knowing where your next meal is coming from is not certain. How can you find your purpose when you cannot afford to send your kids to school? How can you find the purpose of your life when the only way to move up in the world seems to be to lie, cheat, etc.?
At the same time, "What if you are trying to find the purpose of your life in America?"
- Everyone is telling you to save up for your retirement, so we put millions in our bank accounts while we watch people dying of hunger and preventable disease.
- If we watch too much television and news, then we begin to think that our identity is tied to some political party or conservative/liberal ideology and it becomes easier for us to try to "convert" people to our political beliefs than it is to the eternal Kingdom of GOD.
- We are told to move up in our jobs at the expense of everything else, so our neighbors who need to hear the Gospel live right next to us for years and never even know we love Jesus.
- Social media gives us an extremely unhealthy view of pretty much everyone else we know, so we do our best to go on the same vacations, buy the same clothes, and drive the same cars and we forget that Jesus did not die for us so that we would follow someone else.
- Maybe worst of all, those of us who have kids have the opportunity every single day to show them the love of GOD and what it means to live for Him. The problem is that we are a lot better at helping them with their homework, driving them to practice, and pushing them to be the best at everything else in the world except for followers of Jesus Christ.
The purpose of our lives, no matter if we live in Haiti or America is the same. Isaiah 43:7 tells us that we were created by GOD and for His glory, but in the lives of too many professing Christians all over the world we are falling far short of that standard.
My challenge to us, no matter where we live, is to figure out what our purpose is, and once we figure that out to abandon everything else in this world except for the purpose to which we are called.