Abram at 99 years of age: God speaks to him saying, “Walk before Me and be blameless” (Genesis 17:1). And it’s for Christ followers today as well – for the child, the adolescent, the mature, the aged – as it was also with God’s servant Job (Job 1:1)
As the psalmist has written, “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked … but his delight is in the law of the LORD” (Psalm 1)
As God has established His covenant with Abram, so with us He has a plan and a purpose for our being – a special pursuit for each one of us, desiring our participation with Him in His work on earth.
We’ll examine God’s covenant with Abram more closely another day from Genesis chapter 17, reflecting upon God’s special purpose for Abram, but now....
We continue our journey through time to the New Testament era, to when Jesus walked the earth. At this moment in Jesus’ life, it is the Feast of Booths (also called “Tabernacles,” or “Ingathering”), memorializing the Israelites' journey out of Egypt to Canaan – a time for giving of thanks for the productivity of the Promised Land.
Entering the small village of Bethany (on the eastern slope of the Mount of Olives, near Jerusalem), Jesus visits His friends Mary and Martha and their brother Lazarus. Martha is busy with all her preparations, while Mary is sitting at Jesus’ feet and listening to Him.
Encumbered with all her tasks, Martha approaches Jesus, “Lord,” she says, “Do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Please, tell her to help me.”
“Martha, Martha,” Jesus gently admonishes, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed.” Jesus is teaching Martha (and people today): Mary has chosen what is better – to sit at the feet of Jesus and listen to Him (Luke 10:38-42).
Purposely driven. Learning from Jesus. That's how Christ followers, too, will learn the purpose of their being in this temporal physical world.
We zoom ahead once again, to the Year of Our Lord 389. In the Roman province of Britain a boy is born, one who only late in life will realize his purpose for his earthly existence. His father is a deacon in the Celtic church; his grandfather, a priest. His parents name him Patrick.
In his mid-teens Irish plunderers invade Patrick’s hometown; they capture Patrick and many other young boys to be sold as slaves. Patrick, sold to a farmer of Slemish, works for six years at herding swine. It is during these years that Patrick gives thought to his spiritual condition. “The Lord opened the understanding of my unbelief,” he writes, “That I might remember my faults and turn to the Lord my God with all my heart.”
Escaping his captivity, he returns home, and (as he later relates in his Confession)
God calls him "in the depth of the night” – Patrick's “Macedonian call.” He is trained in ministry, ordained a deacon, and sets out for Ireland. He arrives there in 432, now past 40 years of age.
Purposely driven for the Lord. Through Patrick's ministry, some 200 churches are planted throughout Ireland and about 100,000 converts baptized. Ever aware of his own faults, for all his accomplishments Patrick credits God.