Grand Purpose

Rick Warren’s bestseller book Purpose-Driven Life first came out in 2002 and sold 30 million copies in its first 5 years. It tapped into something deep within many readers, and still does. We want to believe that God has a grand purpose for our lives.


How often do fellow-believers recite Jeremiah 29:11 as their life-mantra?

“‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity, to give you a future and a hope.’”

Never mind that this was a word to a nation, not an individual; to the Jewish exiles, not a single person. All of us crave significance. We want our lives to count for something meaningful. And we want to believe—so deeply—that the Father has something special in mind for us.

Nearly 400 years ago, the Westminster Shorter Catechism grappled with this same basic human urge. The teaching document started with the question, “What is the chief end of man?” That is, what’s the grand purpose for which God has created us?

We quietly hope that His grand purpose aligns with our own dreams, that the Lord’s chief end for us will align with our own secret desires—prosperity, comfort, success, or significance.

But the theologians, academics, and pastors who wrestled that original question to the ground in 1647, found that it yielded a somewhat surprising (and simple) answer. We are not the focus of the grand purpose. God is.

The chief end—God’s real purpose—for each of us?

“To glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.”

How does that fit for size? It’s far simpler than we might have expected, and has far less to do with us and much more to do with Him.

We glorify God by showing the world His true character. Loving an enemy glorifies Him more than funding a building program. Caring for the wounded trumps sitting in a service.

We glorify God when the world sees Him in and through us. And only then do we really fulfill His design and purpose for our lives.  And if we fail to enjoy Him along the way, we lose our moorings.

God indeed has a great purpose for your life. Simply reflect Him and enjoy Him. Yes, He may also call you to a specific task, but never to over-ride this basic purpose.

Let’s get back to basics today.

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8 Responses to Grand Purpose

  1. Bob Basile says:

    The utter simplicity of your conclusion takes me out of the equation. Thank you.

  2. David,
    Thank you for reminding us all to get back to basics. We have let our lives as Christians become far too complicated. Many people think that God’s plan for their life involves things…careers, titles, degrees, achievements…but God is looking for people who will make him their pearl of great value. You are so right in that God’s purpose for our lives has far less to do with us and everything to do with Him! His yoke is easy and he is knocking at the door. I, for one, am going to rest in him and know that his plan is perfect.

  3. Richard Cameron says:

    David, thanks for reminding me about this wonderful, yet simple, truth. I needed to hear that. Why oh why do we always have to complicate everything!

    • David Timms says:

      Richard, in a world of so many voices, it seems that the tried and tested Christian voices of the past have some special value as they call us to simpler things. I agree with you.

  4. Phil McKinley says:

    With all that transpires in our world, the lost don’t recognize the goodness of God, but Christians have it in the palms of our hands. As we enjoy God’s presence in our life, people will see that. We should prepare to share from whence this joy comes. As Don Dewelt used to say, I’m happy on my way to Heaven.

  5. Phyllis Heglund says:

    I am behind on my readings and just today had the blessing of reading this post. I have struggled for so many years with people using the Jeremiah passage as proof that God has a grand plan for my life.How great to see someone stating who the audience was and where they were. I know from personal experience that God directs individuals clearly when He has a specific task for them and their life. However, I also know in this season of my life that life doesn’t always unfold as we thought it would. In all of that though, how blessed I am to know beyond a shadow of doubt that my gracious Father is always worthy of praise and bringing him glory and honour is the greatest and highest calling for my life. I cannot thank you enough, David, for keeping us grounded in truth.

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