How Service to others Can Point you to God’s Plans for you

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How to Find Purpose and Meaning in your Life-The Role that Service Plays 

Do you ever feel like you are going through the motions of life? Like you want something more, but you aren't sure what that is?

When I start to feel that way, I have found the quickest way out of feeling lost is to do something nice for someone in need.

Not only does your mood improve, but I also think it brings you one step closer to finding out what God has planned for you.

This is the fifth and final piece of discovering more meaning and purpose in your life.

 

Previous Steps to Discover More Meaning and Purpose in your Life

In case you didn’t read the previous four weeks, below is a quick summary and links to them.

  • Build a friendship with Jesus. The more you seek Him and invite Him into your day, the more you’ll know Him and be able to recognize when He is shining a light on the path He has planned for you. You can learn practical ways to build a friendship with Jesus here.
  • Pay attention to your WOW (Witness of Wonder) moments. These are times in your life that something is so clearly happening from God. It’s like He is saying, Hey, I'm here. I hear you. But don’t just search for these moments, write them down, so you’ll never forget how God is there for you. You can learn more about WOW moments here.
  • Stay in His Word. The more you read scripture, you start to see who God is and what is important to Him. Knowing His Word gives you not only guidance on what path to go down, but His Word can give you the encouragement to do the work that He has planned for you. Find tips to memorize Scripture here.
  • Discover themes in your day-to-day. Once you are aware of themes, they become easier to spot in your life. You’ll start seeing the same Scripture pop up in your day from different sources, or you’ll recognize that a specific problem keeps surfacing throughout your week. These are the clues guiding you to the path God has planned for you. Learn more about discovering themes here.

 

WHAT TO EXPECT IN THIS 5 PART SERIES- FINDING PURPOSE AND MEANING IN YOUR LIFE.

I have some practical suggestions for how to go about this, but first, I want you to know what two things you can expect each day of this series.

  • At the end of each day, there will be journal prompts to discover how the topic relates to your life. 
    • This week is about the gift that service plays in finding more meaning and purpose in your life.
  • There will also be a suggested activity related to the topic of the day. I love how James encourages us to be a doer of the word.

James 1:22 - but be doers of the word, not hearers only, deceiving yourself. 

  • This week’s activity will help you match your talents with service to others.

What is Charity and How does it Help you Find your Purpose 

What does the word charity mean to you? I recently heard it explained with one word-love.

Charity is the action of love.

This past Sunday, when I was at church, the Priest discussed the origin of the word charity. His insight into the meaning of charity reminded me of why I find Scripture Picture Journaling so very helpful. 

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If you want to learn more about Scripture Picture Journaling, you can find it discussed in part 3 of this 5 part series here

The Priest explained that the origin of the word charity is love. I couldn't pick a better word than love to describe what charity is!

I did a quick Google search, and it said the word charity originated in late Old English to mean a "Christian love of one's fellows." Up until at least the beginning of the 20th century, this meaning remained synonymous with charity.

How Jesus Lived Serving for the Lord and Why We Should Too

Jesus spent His life on earth modeling His love for us. I think the best example of this was at His last supper.

The night before Jesus was crucified, we know that he had His last supper with his disciples, who were his friends. They sat around the table, and they broke bread together.

But that's not all that Jesus did that night. He also washed His disciples' feet.

John 13:12-19 (NIV)

When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

Significance of Service as a Way of Life

Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them. Jesus put love into action and invited us to do the same.

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  • Jesus said it Himself when He said:
    • Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 
  • Jesus taught us His ways so that we could live a life of joy.

His service to others was one of the last things that he did on earth. I think that speaks to the importance of serving others, which is why I believe it is one way that leads us to discover your purpose. 

How Service to others Can Help you Find your Purpose

Scripture does a great job of illustrating why I believe one way to discover your purpose is through acts of charity. 

Romans 12:4-8 (NIV)

For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

That scripture so clearly shows me there is a purpose for the talents God has blessed you with. The talent and gifts that He so graciously gave you and me have a purpose. And those gifts are meant to be shared. 

If God wanted, he could have made us all good at everything, but he didn't do that. He made each one of us unique and in need of one another. Using our God-given talents, working with one another is how we can complete the work that God has planned for us.

Joy that Comes from Helping Others

 

I do believe that we were built to be in a community with one other. And I think we find true joy through acts of charity within the community we are part of.

Have you ever volunteered your time to do something for a loved one or for a charity? In order to do that, you had to give up your free time, time that you would have spent doing something for yourself.

But if you decided to help, I'm willing to bet you found joy in helping someone in need, even if it wasn’t something you necessarily wanted to do. 

That joy you feel when you do something good, I think that's Jesus cheering you on.

The Joy that Comes from Using the Talents God Gave you

  • I think that discovering and working on the plans God has made for you is where you’ll find a life of joy. 
    • That’s not to say that it will be easy or, for that matter, always fun, but I do believe stepping into that role will be the most rewarding thing you can do with your life. 

Clues Jesus Leaves for us to Discover our Purpose

  • What are you passionate about? I believe God lays on our hearts a passion for the work we are called to do.
    • Have you ever spoke with someone that is so clearly doing the thing that God planned for them? If you have, then you know how they come alive and show their excitement when they talk about it. 
  • Think about something that either comes easy to you or you felt determined to figure out. This is a clue to discover your purpose.
  • Who are you compelled to help? 
    • Think back on all the situations you’ve helped others-are they the same type of group? For example, are they kids that are in need, lonely elderly people, etc.?
    • Are there stories that you hear on the news or in the Bible that pull at your heartstrings? 
      • I think when you feel like something is tugging on your heartstrings, that is Jesus nudging you to where He is leading you to go.

How you Will Know you are on the Right Track of Finding God's Plan for you

When Jesus pours out blessings in your life, I think this is Him letting you know you are on the right path.
  • Maybe that’s in the form of repeated compliments on something you have done. Perhaps that comes from several different people in your life. 
  • Perhaps when you are working on something you feel more joyful. 
    • When things feel good to do, we are motivated to keep doing what feels so rewarding. I think this is Jesus’ way of leading us to where He wants us to go.

JOURNAL PROMPTS INSPIRED BY SCRIPTURE:

Journal prompts to help you see the clues Jesus is leaving for you.

1 Peter 4:10

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 

Write down 5 things that you are really good at. Think about things people compliment you on or what they ask your help with. 

  • Are you Artistic
  • A Good Listener
  • Can you knit
  • Bake
  • Enjoy Organizing

Look over your list of the five things you are really good at. Then answer the following questions.

  • Are they things you look forward to doing?
  • Are they something you lose track of time when you do?
  • Journal about not only what you think others could gain from your help but also what you gain by using the gifts you've been blessed with.

INVITATION TO BE A DOER OF THE WORD

James 1:22, NIV: "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says." 

For this Week’s Activity:

  • Set aside 15 minutes to do a Google search on the list of five things you said you were good at. 
    • Type in what you are good at, followed by the word charity. 
    • Look into the different charities that come up and see how you could apply the skills you already have to help those in need.
      • Do you have a knack for helping others feel loved. Could you use that gift to sit with the elderly once a month?
      • Are you passionate about organizing things? Check with your church to see if there are things that they need help sorting through. You could also check in with food pantries.
      • Can you knit? Make mittens for those in need. Carry around a pair for when you see someone in need of them.
    • Take the first step of contacting someone in an organization you think you would enjoy helping at. Learn more about opportunities to volunteer there.

How to Find More Meaning and Purpose in your Life

This was the fifth and final piece of the puzzle. I hope that you found it useful. If you work through each step, I believe you will be well on your way to uncovering the plans God has for you.

Next week I will share what I like to use to keep all these discoveries in one place. I think it will help you stop guessing and start discovering where God is leading you.

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