October 15, 2020
By Pastor Jason Duley
Galilee has a motto: “Ordinary people, extraordinary purpose.” A fuller rendition of it runs, “We are ordinary people with an extraordinary purpose: to know Christ and to make Christ known.”
What does that mean?
Recently a Galilee Global newcomer, someone who has experienced our church only through livestream worship, mentioned how inspiring they found this motto and invited me to go deeper into the meaning of it. You know I don’t need much encouragement to say more! I love to speak my mind.
Your extraordinary purpose grows when your relationship with God gets deeper.
The extraordinary work of knowing Christ can be a bit abstract…so consider as a more concrete example, knowing fish. There are different ways to learn about fish. I can read a book about them. Or I can catch one with a line and a hook. Or I can go deeper and get in the water to swim with fish.
When I went to seminary, the education I experienced was helpful but limited. It was a bit like the first two methods of learning about fish. I read many books about about God. I also learned in structured classes about pastoring, and counseling, and leading worship—all subjects dealing with God, but a bit like learning how to fish…technical.
It’s a much different exercise to get in the water yourself. Imagine snorkeling where the water is clear and deep, where you can be with the fish and recognize them in their own environment. You see their colors, their behavior, the world they live in, the lives they lead. That is a whole other experience, a full immersion in the life of fish.
You don’t find real fish in a book.
A relationship with God can go that deep. In a way, it must. Connecting with your God-given purpose in life connects you deeply with the full life of God. Faith, in any way that you practice it, is a connection, a personal experience of the very presence of God.
Different People, Different Purposes
Someone who dove into my life and made a difference is Mrs Harrison. Mrs. Harrison taught—not a school of fish, but my senior year Sunday school—and she must have been good at it. Two of us, from a class of ten or twelve, became United Methodist ministers.
I remember Mrs Harrison because she encouraged me in a unique way. Unlike my public school teachers who knew my class work but didn’t really know me, Mrs. Harrison chose to see who I was and give me insight into myself.
One time when we were in conversation about some heavy life-or-death subject, I spoke up. Normally the result was nothing that I would consider profound. I often joked rather than spoke seriously. But in response to whatever I said, Mrs Harrison said to me, “Jason, I can see your character.” She pointed out that I was speaking up for what I believe. I was speaking my mind. No one had said that to me before. I liked it.
On other occasions, Mrs. Harrison made a point to talk to me meaningfully. She encouraged me to go to seminary, to follow in the footsteps of my dad. No one else, not even my family, was suggesting such a future for me. Mrs Harrison, having become a real person in my world (a mentor and not just a teacher), worked her purpose to help me find my purpose. I believe God was working through her.
Let Me Be Vague
When I mention “extraordinary purpose” in worship or in sermons, I tend to leave the meaning fairly open-ended because I don’t want to be too specific. I believe each individual is able to find and interpret God‘s purpose in life in their own way.
Mrs Harrison did it through encouragement and mentoring. Your purpose could be different. Mine was!
“Purpose” is that place where passion meets a need in the world, and YOUR purpose is where YOUR faith combines with YOUR talents so YOU can help when someone is in need. Our purpose as a church is to help you find that place.
Jesus said, “follow me and I will make you fishers of people.” He also showed his disciples the best spots to seek fish: in the water, where it’s deep, and God is there.
Email me to let me know what your passion is. Or maybe we can talk about fish. Let’s start a conversation.
In Essentials, Unity; In Non-essentials, Freedom; in All things, Love