A man with a more clearly defined, executed and articulated life’s purpose would be difficult to find. It is a simple purpose. It is a unique purpose. It is far from a noble purpose. But it is his and he knows to the core of his being that this is what he is meant to do. So does everyone around him. There is no question about it, he is the icon of a purpose driven life.
Who is this amazing person? It’s not 007, Agent Maxwell Smart with his self destructing missions or even Opposition Leader Tony Abbot. While they all have their purpose, those missions are not as clear cut or unfold according to plan as neatly as this man of purpose.
His name is Onslow. His purpose: sleep, eat, drink beer and watch telly. Just watch any episode of Keeping Up Appearances and Hyacinth Bucket’s (pronounced “Bouquet”) brother-in-law Onslow’s purpose is clearly implemented.
While our purpose in life will change over the decades, knowing what your purpose is can help you live with a sense of direction and accomplishment. If you don’t know where you’re going or why you’re moving, how will you know when you get there?
Early in life our purpose is to obey parents, to receive an education and learn how the world works and how we fit into it. As we grow up our purpose changes to include being a good employee, finding a spouse, raising the next generation, being a good daughter, mother, wife and friend, retiring with grace and hopefully being missed when we go.
Many of us are not content with just these basics of life. We want a bigger purpose like changing someone’s world, protecting the environment, leaving our name on a plaque or book or building, being recorded in history.
We want a bigger purpose because we want our lives to count. But how and what and when and who are all vague and unstructured and unknown. We sort of hope that somewhere along life’s journey fate will open an opportunity for this to happen to us.
But then, how will we know when we’ve succeeded if we’re not sure what the goal is?
Organisations will spend months designing their mission statement, their purpose. They realise that without it they simply move forward in the vague hope of achievement. Business has learnt that this is a critical ingredient to success and the simpler the better.
This is what makes Onslow’s purpose so great. “Sleep, eat, drink beer and watch telly” is clear, easy to remember, easy to achieve and accomplish. You know when you’ve succeeded and you know when you’ve failed. It could not be simpler.
Another man with a purpose is Jesus Christ. When he started his mission, he clearly knew what his purpose was, what he was supposed to do, when, why, what, who, where and how. It was all clearly laid out in his mission statement.
So on Day 1 of his new job he clearly read out his mission statement so all would know what he was about. You can read the story in Luke 4:16-30. His purpose was this:
“ The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the broken-hearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.”
This statement tells whose authority Jesus came with, who his “customer” or “tribe” was, what he was going to do and how he was going to do it.
The rest of Luke 4, verses 31-42 then show how Jesus immediately started to action the plan as he preached the good news, released the demon possessed and healed the sick.
We all know people who are more talk than walk but Jesus didn’t just talk about what he was meant to do, he got out there and got started. And it didn’t take him long.
Both Onslow and Jesus can be called a man of purpose. While Onslow’s purpose may be way simpler than Jesus’, it has no real value either in this life or the next. It is not worth copying, Christ’s is.
Who do you think are good examples of people with purpose? Do you feel walking the walk is more or less important than talking the talk? Share your ideas in the comments below.
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