There are a variety of opinions about life and purpose. Let me assure
you: You have a purpose! You were born with it. It is your undeniable
spiritual DNA. Even if you don’t think you have a purpose – you do.
Designed into your life is your purpose. Life is meaningful… your life
is meaningful and is making a difference.
You have a reason for being here. Your unique contribution is needed
every day and in every way. You may never know the difference you
make. You fit into the Grand Design. Purpose is indifferent to
circumstances because in any situation your Purpose is at play and is
needed. That means that you are important in a significant way and you
belong on this Planet. You are making a difference with your life.
Our culture is one of immediate gratification; but that’s not the way
real life typically works. Not necessarily knowing the difference we
make is a bit of a raw deal, isn’t it? Here we are doing these good
deeds on the job and in life, and we don’t get noticed and recognized.
But as mothers have reminded us for centuries, “A job well done is its
Every now and then we gather a glimpse at the difference we’ve made. In the 1960s – 1970s my mom taught middle school girls’ physical education and health in the Bethel Park, Pennsylvania school district. Regularly mom’s former students would stop by the house to pay Mrs. McCarthy a thank you visit for the influence she was during their tender and tumultuous pre-adolescent and early teen years. How those visits would brighten Mom’s day – as they would for anyone.
Within about three months of the release of my first book, The On-Purpose Person, a call came into the office late one Thursday morning. The reader identified himself as a pastor named Rob. He had planted a church in Kentucky and ministered to nearly 400 families each week. Rob shared that he had grown up in Winter Park, Florida, where I now live. He asked, “In reading the acknowledgments in your book, I saw the name Roger Stitt. Do you know if his wife’s name is Toby Ann?”
“Yes, that’s Roger’s wife,” I answered. Now Roger is the first person to have ever purchased The On-Purpose Person when I self-published the book. In fact, he ordered thirty copies and gave them to men in a Sunday School class he led at Sweetwater Baptist Church. He’s an honest man with a kind and gentle spirit working in the rough and tumble business of commercial construction. He is the CEO of RHS Construction, a local Orlando constructor.
“Wow,” Rob whispered with amazement. “I went to high school with the Stitts’ sons. When I saw Roger’s name I recalled that it was at their home where I attended my first ever Bible study. At the time, I was not attending church services or even had an inkling of God, but the Stitts would open their home to a bunch of high school kids, feed us, and lead us in a Bible study. As I reflect on that, I realize it was there that my call into ministry was first nurtured. Do you know how I can get in touch with Roger?”
I answered, “Sure do! He’s in my CEO group that meets for five hours once a month every second Thursday. Today’s the day. Roger and I will be having lunch together in about thirty minutes. Give me your number, Rob, so I can pass it along to Roger. Here’s his number, and I will tell him to expect your call.”
With great excitement I headed to my CEO group in downtown Orlando. Knowing that Roger is typically early for the meeting I looked to grab him ahead of time. True to form Roger sat in the boardroom ten minutes ahead of schedule. We greeted one another. I began with a simple question, “Roger, did Toby Ann and you ever hold a Bible study in your home for high school kids?”
Roger grimaced a remembrance and then dejectedly shook his head from side to side, “Kevin, we did a Bible study for years when my kids were going through Winter Park High School. Nothing ever came of it except we spent a lot of time and money feeding a bunch of kids. It was probably just a wasted effort. Why?”
I beamed. “Roger, today you get a sneak peak into heaven.” The story of the Kentucky pastor’s ministry with roots in the Stitts’ home came to life as I recounted my recent phone call. Roger was dumbstruck.
Tears filled both our eyes. With his head in his hands he kept repeating, “I never knew. I never knew. I never knew it was making a difference at all.”
Well that day some fifteen years later, Roger did know that faithfulness in small matters does have significance and long-term implications. Think of the legacy of Roger and Rob and beyond to the lives being touched in one congregation because of one man’s faithfulness. To see the fruit of one’s labor born years later is a true gift. Doing things, and doing the right things regardless of the immediate personal pay-off is obedience to one’s purpose and call.
Every day on the job we make small decisions of how to serve, speak, and act. We’re entrusted with the power to make the world a better place in a chain of events with ripple effects we can’t fathom. Yes, a job well done is its own reward. Everything else is a bonus. And on rare occasions we, like Roger, get a sneak peek into heaven.