The second difference between me and one who does not live by faith in Jesus is in our purpose. Now, I have to be very careful here. I don't want to pretend that others who don't believe as I do have no purpose - on the contrary I believe many 'good' people out there live very purposefully - directed by their own belief systems as to what their purpose may be. That said, and I may be wrong in saying this, but most people - and sadly, many Christians too - live with their only purpose being focussed on this life. Many people's driving purpose in life does not extend beyond this life here on planet earth. And very often, the focus of most of our lives can tend towards gratification of self (being self-seeking). I have a purpose for living that goes beyond me (including my successes and failures and performance) and beyond this earthly life. (I will grant that for greenies - they too live beyond themselves, aiming to make the planet a better place for all who come hereafter!)
Even in the mundane busy-ness of child-rearing I can remind myself of my eternal purpose. Child-rearing isn't just a chore - but an opportunity to bear fruit 'that will last' (John 15). What am I talking about? Let me explain.
Sometimes I feel like my days accomplish nothing of lasting value. Meals are made and eaten, clothes are washed only to be soiled and washed again, grubby hands are wiped only to be re-deposited into a pot of dirt, and floors are swept only to become muddy again. Children are corrected only to be naughty again. Stories are read only to be read over, and over, and over again. Does any of this accomplish anything? What am I doing here? What is my purpose in all this? It can all become very meaningless if I don't remember my purpose.
I have been called to motherhood. This is my area of service - how can I bear fruit in it? Galatians 5:22 lists the fruit of the Spirit which are mostly attitudes or the overflow of the heart. These can be cultivated no matter how mundane our tasks. And as I invest myself in raising these children, as they grow and hopefully mature into godly people, these efforts of mine will not have been wasted. If my children grow up to live lives that please God, then my purpose will be accomplished (as far as motherhood goes). I am participating in God's kingdom - in His purpose as I tackle the tasks I am given each day. I don't need to have some flashy title, or even be recognized as a super-mom (which I'm not) - I am content to simply work towards the eternal purpose I have in Christ - to bear fruit for His eternal kingdom. And to grow into His likeness in all things.
When you see those without hope, and without purpose and without a glorious future to anticipate with eagerness, it must spark a least a glimmer of gratitude and joy in your soul. Be grateful that our redemption gave us so much more than salvation from our sins. This should move us not only to respond in praise and thanksgiving to our Great God, but to also share this hope, joy and purpose more gladly with others. In sharing our lives with those around us, we should infect them with a vigorous curiosity that will not be abated until questions are asked and answers are sought. We should, by our very purpose, be stimulated all the more to 'go into all the world and preach the gospel...'
Take a moment now to thank God for the spiritual blessings we enjoy in Christ and especially for our eternal hope and purpose. Pray for those you know who don't share this hope, and pray for boldness and passion to take up the opportunities God gives you to share His love with others.