Many years ago I remember asking my father if there was ever a point in his life where he discovered his mission in life- his purpose for what he was here on planet earth to do. I’ve often been told I am an idealist with grand impossible goals for what I want to do and see happen in the world but in my mind it is simply the state of what living in Truth would transform our world into being. My goals may seem unrealistic but I believe that if set our vision as high as possible we will begin to take steps in that direction.
Anyways, back to the story…
I suppose back then I was expecting something grand and all-encompassing to be the response of my father for what he saw as his mission in life. He was a minister for most of his life and so I was also perhaps expecting something within those terms. But I was quite surprised by his response:
“To be useful.”
It was simple and clear. His mission in life was to be useful to others. That was it. Certainly, there are many things which can go along with that, but I have spent years considering his response in its beautiful simplicity.
When we read the mission statements of non-profit organizations, ministries and governmental agencies; we will usually find something immense in scale and scope. For example, with the initiatives I work to launch the mission is “to bring people together, regardless of our differences, to solve global problems.”
This statement has always been in the back or forefront of my mind through all circumstances. It has been what I have fallen back on when romantic relationships didn’t work out, initially of course being heartbroken but quickly remembering my purpose and what I am really here to do which fueled me resoluteness and recommitment.
It may sound big but in my mind it comes down to one thing: there are people around the world who are needlessly suffering because they lack the very necessities of life. If what my life does is something which enables just one person to have a meal, clean water or access to what is needed to live healthy, that is what I want my life to mean. That begins with relationship and going to connect with people. It begins with being “useful.”
What I have found is that underlying every grand mission and every idealistic goal we set there is that simplicity: “I want to be useful.” I want to serve. That is where our mission in this life begins.