The following was transcribed from a T.D. Jakes sermon about purpose.
Most People Wander Throughout Their Lives Without a Purpose
You would be surprised – they’re almost like high school students trying to figure out whether they should go to college or not or what their major should be or people graduating from college going into the workforce undecided about what their career choice should be. You can understand that at 17 and 24, but many of us at 30 and 40 and 50 still have questions about our purpose. And so we don’t have the joy and the sense of fulfillment and the sense of gratification that we need. We have collected some trinkets of success – some accomplishments. We can now afford to get our hair done. We have a car maybe. We’ve got a house or a nice apartment. … We’ve gone to the Bahamas or to Hawaii – some have gone to Paris. There are some notable pictures in our reservoir of photographs that we can look back on and say, “I got to do something.”
As We Get Older, We Begin to Ask Questions
- Did I do the thing that I was created to do?
- Did my life really matter for anything?
- Did I do what I was sent here to do?
Our god is a calculating god with a methodology. … He is a god that has a plan and a strategy, and as we worship him, sooner or later you’re going to come to the point that you begin to ask him, “How do I fit in your plan?”
Don’t Mistake Prominence for Significance
The search and the need for significance causes people to aspire to whatever they see up front. … So we are inundated with preachers and everybody wants to preach, everybody wants to teach, everybody wants to do something that they think is significant and important because they subscribe to the ideology that if I do something that is important, that will make me important. They do not recognize that you can have more titles than you have space to put them, more degrees than a thermometer, but if you don’t know who you are and whose you are, a title will not give you direction, fulfillment, or purpose.
There’s Nothing Worse Than Being Where You Don’t Belong
It becomes laborious, it becomes difficult, it becomes a burden to you. You don’t feel it. You don’t have tenacity to do it. You like the idea of it – [for example] people like the idea of being married but not the responsibility of being married. You liked the idea of being a husband, but you don’t want to go to work. You like the idea of being a wife, but you don’t want to give up your single friends and focus on your marriage. People always ascribe to the idea of being things – the idea of being a pastor, the idea of being a preacher – but if it is not really your purpose, you don’t have the passion to push yourself over the obstacle … to do what it takes to be what you weren’t called [to be].
That one fragmented statement is enough for you to get [this] tape and play it over and over in your ears. Because there is nothing worse than investing 20 years into nothingness, 10 years into an illusion – five years of my life is too long to spend doing something that is not what I was created to do. I don’t want to be what I am not. I don’t want to be changed and distorted or perverted or manipulated or massaged into a position that is not really me. All I want to be is the best T.D. Jakes you ever saw on the planet.
When People Don’t Know Their Purpose, They Fill Their Lives with Stuff
[We think] that if we have enough stuff or we have enough money or we have enough bedrooms in our house – or [however] you measure success – then we will feel satisfied. But the stuff brings problems and the stuff brings issues and the stuff brings stress, and at the end of it all, when you have attained all that the world has to offer, [you still wind up wondering] did I do the thing that I was created to do?
People Seek Positions of Grandeur but Sometimes You Were Called to Do a Small Thing
But the small thing is such a significant thing that if you do it and do it right, it will turn the world upside down. I’m thinking of small things [like] a little boy who was called to carry two fish and five loaves of bread into a crowd of 5,000, but it became the catalyst for a miracle that compelled 5,000 people to run into the city, saying surely this man Jesus is the son of God.
There was a woman making beds when she looked up and saw Naaman standing there with leprosy on his shoulder. She was called to make the bed that day, and this little maid looked up while she was fluffing pillows and said … there is a prophet in Israel that can deliver you from your bondage. Suppose she would’ve been preaching. Suppose she would’ve been writing books or singing or doing something else. She would have missed her moment in destiny, and there is nothing worse than to have lived and died and never been where you were supposed to be when you were supposed to be doing what you were created to do.
Purpose Is Elusive but Like Any Good Mystery, It Leaves Clues
It may not flaunt itself in your face and say, “Here is your purpose.” But it will leave some clues that point the way.
Editor’s note: You might even stumble upon a clue to your purpose in a grammatically incorrect meme.