Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart. —Jeremiah 1:5a
Seventeen-year-old Isaac hunkered down with Grandpa Jim and cousins Walter and Levy as Hurricane Hattie battered their large wooden house. Unable to withstand the category 4 force winds, the house collapsed and Walter, Levy, and Grandpa Jim perished. Isaac, however, was flung through a window as the house came crashing down. He was hurt and bruised but alive. As the residents of Sittee River Village and the entire country assessed the ravages of Belize’s most devastating storm, it was discovered that of all the households in Sittee River, only one suffered fatalities: Jim Kelly’s house. And of the four persons in that house, only one survived: Isaac Kelly, my dad.
Do I have any doubt God intended for me and my siblings to be born? That he actually planned us? None whatsoever. If I can be honest, though, sometimes I behave as if I don’t know these things. Which is why I’m grateful for the many reminders in Scripture that God has specific assignments for our lives. He said to Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart…as a prophet to the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5). Likewise the apostles, even with their various character flaws, were singled out for ministry with Jesus. Mary, of humble social status, to mother the Savior of the World (Luke 1). And Joseph (Genesis 45), Rahab (Joshua 2), Deborah (Judges 4), and countless other ordinary men and women, all used for divine purposes.
Likewise you and me. Regardless of our status, occupations, or talents, God created us to be in relationship with Him, firstly, and to love and serve others for His sake. But how do we know what service we’re meant for? In The Purpose-Driven Life, Rick Warren advises that we make an inventory of our spiritual gifts, passions, natural talents, personality, and life experiences, and use those as guides to help determine our life’s purposes.
Reflect: What talents, traits, and lessons did you inherit from your earthly father? How can you use these to do the work you believe your Heavenly Father created you for?
Lord, thank you for my parents and ancestors who you chose to give me life. Help me to know and willingly fulfill your unique purpose for my life on earth.
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