“I’m going to open this session with a question, and all I want you to do is raise your hand if your answer is ‘yes’. Do you believe in Jesus Christ?” Pastor Thompson asked.
Crystal raised her hand along with everyone else. Some murmured with confusion scribbled on their faces, as if they wondered who would come to church if they didn’t believe in Him.
“It wasn’t meant to be a trick question.” The Pastor chuckled. “I’m glad to see that all of you have your hands raised. You can put them down. I didn’t want to assume everyone in here is a believer, because people come through those doors for different reasons. Our prayer is that they don’t leave the same and that they ultimately come to accept Christ as their Savior. Believing in Christ is the first step toward finding your divine purpose. He is the source.
“If you don’t remember anything else from these teachings, please write down and remember Jeremiah 29:11. This scripture tells us that the Lord knows the plans He has for us and that His plans will prosper, not harm, us. They will give us hope and a future. By knowing the Lord, we come to know our purpose. Notice that the word ‘plan’ is plural. Therefore, God can purpose us to do several things in life. Let’s not think because purpose is often expressed in the singular form that there’s only one assignment God has for us. For instance, think about getting an education—wouldn’t it be nice to have only one assignment to complete and then you earn a diploma or degree? No elementary, middle, or high school.”
“It sure would be,” one teen blurted out.
“That’s right, young man,” Pastor Thompson walked to where the boy sat and stood facing him. The teen’s posture remained erect and confident, despite the authority figure standing an arm-length away. “I admire your courage to speak up. So as our spokesman for the moment, let me ask you something else. In school, how do you find out about the assignments that you have to complete?”
“My teacher tells me.” He twisted his lips to one side and looked up as he replied.
Pastor Thompson snapped his fingers. “That’s right. Now, what if you never went to class and never met the teacher? How would you get those assignments?”
As the boy pondered, he looked to his left and right where his peers sat snickering and whispering to one another. “Well, I guess I could get someone who went to class to tell me.”
“Okay. You could do that, but how would you know if that person gave the right assignment or information?”
The boy slouched in his chair and shrugged his shoulders.
“When you go to turn in the assignments, do you think the teacher would accept them? No, she probably wouldn’t because if you didn’t come to class the teacher doesn’t know who you are or if she can trust the work that you’re turning in,” Pastor Thompson stated.
“My point is the best way to find out what your assignments are is to connect with the teacher. You have to come to class and learn the lessons being taught. Church fellowship and Bible study are ways we can discover God’s purpose and plans for our lives. We cultivate our relationship with Him by studying and applying His Word and by consistent prayer. There are an endless number of lessons and tests that we will go through that can lead us to our purpose.”
An older woman raised her hand. “Pastor, I’m sixty-four years old, and I do all of those things you just said. I read my Bible every morning, pray, and do my best to get to church every Sunday, even when my blood pressure is acting up. I debated about coming to these sessions because I worked thirty-five successful years in bank management. After about four years into my retirement, I felt that empty feeling you mentioned earlier. I didn’t know why I felt that way, so that’s why I’m here.”
“Sister, you bring up a good point. There are probably others here who are already living a Christian lifestyle and have an intimate relationship with God, but still feel a void. In this case, it could be that God has presented assignments to you that you haven’t recognized or you have already fulfilled without realizing it. Sometimes we expect God to show up in grand, extraordinary, and miraculous ways. However, there are simple, everyday situations that He can use us for. We’ve all heard the saying that good things can come in small packages.”
“At the end of the day, take time to reflect and you may recall moments where God used you. Those times where you feel a void from God could be when He’s preparing you for a future assignment. Whatever you do, don’t disconnect from your faith. Continue to talk with God about how you’re feeling and ask what He wants you to do while you’re waiting. He may reveal that you just need to be still and let Him work to prepare you for what’s next. Remember, Jesus was prepped for about twenty years before He was sent out to minister. Don’t get discouraged during the wait.”
Where will Crystal’s faith and purpose journey lead her?
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