What was your dream job when you were a child? My son Jason wanted to be an architect at age ten. Today he and his wife Jen are the owners of Andrews & Andrews, Architects, and have designed and built houses in Washington State and the Midwest. He loves what he does and architecture utilizes his skill set perfectly. That’s all he ever wanted to be.
However, that is not true of all of us. I was nearly 50 years old before I found my dream job, and it initially didn’t involve a change in what I did at my job, but how I saw my job. I began to realize for the first time that I was born into God’s family some thirty years earlier for a specific purpose—He had a “family business” here on the earth, and He wanted me to join Him in it. Real Christianity is not just a ticket to heaven when we die, but it includes crucial, meaningful work here on the earth. Does that mean real Christianity is more than just getting saved and becoming a better person as a result?
In our recent blog postings we have been attempting to discover the Bible’s answers to the four questions that form the pillars of the Christian faith: 1.) What is God like? 2.) What am I like? 3.) How do I relate to God? We have discussed these three at some length in previous postings, and we are now ready to examine the final one: 4.) What is my purpose in life?
Most of us at some point in our lives wonder and try to come to grips with “Why am I here?” and “What is life all about?” Is life really meaningless here on the earth, as the atheistic evolutionists insist, or, as some Christians believe, is it just to get saved and try to be a good person until I get to heaven where the real action is? That would mean that nothing is ultimately meaningful but saving souls, and if that’s true, once I am saved I should, should I not, spend full time doing only that? Some believe that.
However, is that really true? With this mindset, even the Christian’s life, now lived for the purpose of getting as many people to heaven as possible, is not in itself meaningful to him. Why not kill himself now and move on to heaven where real life is happening! There is a longing in every man and woman that makes him yearn for something more, some overarching purpose for this life he is living now on the earth.
I believe the Bible has all the answers to life for us, including this one. The Westminster Confession proclaims as much when it calls the Bible “the only rule of faith and practice,” including believing what it says about my purpose in this life.
So, what does the Bible say about my purpose? As you would expect, the place to look is at the story of man’s beginning, in Genesis 1. “ And God said, let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the heavens, and over the cattle, and over all the earth . . . And God blessed them; and God said to them, Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it” (Genesis 1:26, 28).
There it is, in a nutshell. How can we miss it? Man’s purpose is to 1.) reflect God’s image, i.e., look like He looks, 2.) rule over all the earth and all it contains, 3.) reproduce after our kind to perpetuate 1. and 2. Three words summarize God’s comprehensive purpose for man: Reflect, Rule and Reproduce. Those three words represent the essence of the three-fold answer to question 4.)—What is my purpose? Practically, what does that mean?
The answer lies in one of the most important but neglected events in Jesus’ life, His ascension to heaven on a cloud after His resurrection to be seated at His Father’s right hand to rule (Acts 1:7-11, Ephesians 1:20-23).
We may know these verses that relate this event, but when we stop to think about them, they bring questions to mind. How can Jesus rule over anything on the earth while seated in heaven. What, then, does that mean? Over what is He now ruling?
The ascension was prophesied years earlier, and in that prophesy lies the answer to these questions. “I was looking in the night visions. And behold! One like the Son of Man came with the clouds of the heavens. And He came to the Ancient of Days. And they brought Him near before Him” (Daniel 7:13).
Many think this verse refers to Jesus’ second coming to earth because He is “coming on the clouds of the heavens” just as angels told the disciples He would do when He returned. However, here in Daniel 7 He is coming up to the Ancient of Days, God Himself, not coming down to the earth. No, this is not describing Jesus’ future 2nd coming to the earth, but the conclusion of the ascension, viewed from the heavenly end, i.e., what happened when He arrived.
Jesus, the Son of Man, arrives in heaven on the cloud, enters the throne room and comes before God Almighty, snaps off a salute as He reports, “Mission accomplished! I have died for the sins of the world. The work is completed. It is finished!”
The next verse in Daniel 7 describes how God the Father respond to Jesus’ report. This is one of the most important verses in the Bible for us to understand if we are going to discover our purpose during our time on the earth. As such, it is referred to or alluded to many times in both the Old and New Testaments. Daniel 7:14 says, “And dominion was given to Him, and glory, and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which shall not pass away, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed” (Daniel 7:14).
2000 years ago, Jesus returned to heaven after defeating Satan and dying for the sins of the world. The King over all other kings was finally ruling over His kingdom. His Father did exactly what David prophesied He would do in Psalm 110:1, “The LORD (God the Father) said to my Lord (Jesus),’Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.” When Paul wrote, that had already occurred:, “He (God) raised Him (Jesus) from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places . . . and He put all things under His feet” (Ephesians 1:20, 22)!
Jesus has now accomplished all the heavy lifting for God to achieve His great eternal purpose. Man is redeemed. The usurper Satan has been defeated. Jesus has been enthroned at His Father’s right hand as King of kings, and, as such, “All authority has been given to (Him) in heaven and on earth” (Matthew 28:18).
The stage is now set. Next week we see how every man’s dream job is awaiting his discovery!