Is your “endgame” here on the earth to get saved from Hell yourself and then go to Heaven, taking as many people with you as possible in the process? That was my original view of Christianity growing up. In my church I learned that the highest calling in life was a vocation that allowed you to spend full time doing that—the “professional” ministry, i.e., being a pastor or a missionary.
While I was in college, I experienced Jesus Christ for the first time, and, as a result, I pursued that “endgame” of being a missionary for the first seven years after graduation, doing so with the same organization that had introduced me to the Lord. I was committed to “Fulfilling the Great Commission in this generation,” the slogan of the organization, taken from the Mark 16:15 rendition, to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” My mission field was the college campus.
I witnessed to anything that moved in an attempt to save as many people as possible while here on the earth. Isn’t that my purpose for being here, my summum bonum, my endgame?
However, after five years, I began to question that premise. Even though it had been an unquestioned presupposition of mine my whole life, DeVern Fromke’s book, The Ultimate Intention, presented to me a brand new perspective that ultimately led me to understand my faith totally differently.
Fromke proposed a radically different endgame. His thesis was that salvation was not the goal of our earthly journey but only a God-ordained detour, necessitated by the Fall. According to Fromke, in the Garden of Eden, Satan deceived man into straying from the purpose for which he was created, God’s endgame for him. Fromke said that salvation simply enables us, after traveling the winding, unpaved, pot-holed detour we took at the Tree, to return to God’s interstate highway at the cross. Traveling down that highway will ultimately lead us to our endgame, that for which we were created.
So, when God turns on the lights in our hearts, we begin to see what happened at the cross. There, as we saw last week, sin was forever judged and put away, it is no longer an issue with God, and He is now completely satisfied with me, right now, just as I am. I am free to quit worrying about how God thinks I am doing (He says I am doing fine!), so I am now free to forget continually evaluating my performance and look at something besides myself for the first time, God’s purpose for me.
The very first thing I see outside myself is that God is my Daddy, and He loves me, with all His heart, irrespective of my performance! I begin to realize I can’t get enough of Him and His love; I want to be with Him, to talk to Him, know all about Him, and I want to do whatever He is doing. Therefore, I am absolutely thrilled when I discover Daddy wants me to join Him in the family business! Can you believe it? What is the business, Daddy? (hint: it is not necessarily the “full-time” ministry, though it may be that too). How do I fit in? What can I do? Can we start now?!
As you would expect, Daddy has given us clear answers in the Bible to these “what, when, how, and why” questions as we join Him in His “Ultimate Intention,” His “Eternal Purpose.” He has left us a clear, simple, three-fold blueprint, clearly enunciated in three verses in the Bible. Here God tells us why God created us—the ultimate purpose that underlies all we do, the very framework for all of life, the first cause that gives everything meaning. When this is seen with spiritual eyes, we are ruined for anything else. Are you ready?
“And God said, ‘let Us 1.) make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them 2.) rule …over all the earth …’
And God created the man in His own image; in the image of God He created him. He created them male and female.
And God blessed them; and God said to them, 3.) ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it, and rule over the fish of the seas, and over birds of the heavens, and over all beasts creeping on the earth’” (Genesis 1:26-28).
And there you have it. Our three-fold purpose as man, as we join Daddy in His work, is to:
1.) Reflect the image of God. We will look like He looks. As we join Him in His business, we will work just as He works, and do the job just as He does it. We represent Him. Nothing less than this is our destiny. God will not be denied His ultimate intention.
2.) Rule over the earth. This ruling vocation as His vice-regents was originally given to man in Adam and Eve in the Garden, stolen from them by Satan, and then restored to man in Jesus at the cross, His kingdom includes the earth and all it contains—every piece of real estate, every drop of ocean, every vocation, every activity, every living creature. Each of us has now been given different responsibilities to rule in this kingdom, all of us according to our gifts, abilities, and desires.
3.) Reproduce and fill the earth with offspring. Our posterity will join with us in the family business. There is a job, a mission, a responsibility over which all, both physical and spiritual offspring, will participate. Reflect, rule, and reproduce—God’s ultimate intention for mankind. Do you see it?
Two laborers were working side-by-side, diligently digging a ditch. The first man was grumbling unhappily and looking at his watch every five minutes while the second man, with a smile on his face, was singing joyfully as he worked.
“What are you men doing?” a passer-by asked, noticing the strikingly different demeanor of the two men.
“I’m just digging a ditch,” muttered the first man. The second man looked up, his face beaming. “I’m building a cathedral!”
What are you doing today? When I took my first crack at subbing in the public schools some 15 years ago, wrestling with rebellious teenagers all day, I was that first man, in living color. I lasted 3 days. I would literally mutter about “those poor fish,” when I would drive by a group of children waiting for the school bus.
When I came back for a second crack at subbing, ten years later, the kids were the same, if not worse, but I was different. I was beginning to understand God’s eternal purpose. Yesterday morning, when I entered the school where I was teaching that day, I prayed this prayer: “Lord, since You live in me, I know that Your kingdom is coming to University High today because I will be on site. Who are you going to touch today? Who are You going to love on? Reach out with your love to students and faculty alike through me. May Your kingdom come and Your will be done at U. High today just as it is in Heaven.”
Over the next three weeks we will look at how this threefold, eternal purpose will be achieved.