Choosing Purpose over Aimlessness

Choosing Purpose over Aimlessness

My food [purpose] is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.
–John 4:34

Somebody has said, “The grand essentials of happiness are: something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.” This is talking about the importance of having a purpose in life. Purpose is the foundation upon which we build our actions, our affections, and our aspirations.

Having a purpose is like having an engine that drives our life. A purpose is like a beacon in the darkness that gives our lives direction in times of uncertainty. Yet studies have shown that fewer than 3 percent of Americans have a clearly defined purpose in life, or the goals and objectives to meet that purpose. How do we spend the limited time God has given us here on earth? We can do so aimlessly and just simply react to whatever comes our way each day, or we can choose to live our life with purpose. This week, we will look at the importance of choosing purpose over aimlessness in life.

The late Charles Colson illustrated the need for purpose in his book “Kingdoms in Conflict.” In that book Colson recounted the true story of a group of Jewish prisoners in a Nazi concentration camp who found that the factory they had been working in had been bombed out by Allied aircraft. Colson wrote, “Expecting orders to begin rebuilding, they were startled when the Nazi officer commanded them to shovel sand into carts and drag it to the other end of the plant. The next day the process was repeated in reverse; they were ordered to move the huge pile of sand back to the other end of the compound. A mistake has been made, they thought. Stupid swine. Day after day they hauled the same pile of sand from one end of the camp to the other. Then Dostoyevsky’s prediction came true. One old man began crying uncontrollably; the guards hauled him away. Another screamed until he was beaten into silence. Then a young man who had survived three years in the camp darted away from the group. The guards shouted for him to stop as he ran toward the electrified fence. The other prisoners cried out, but it was too late; there was a blinding flash and a terrible sizzling noise as smoke puffed from his smoldering flesh. In the days that followed, dozens of prisoners went mad and ran from their work, only to be shot by the guards or electrocuted by the fence. The commandant smugly remarked that there soon would be ‘no more need to use the crematoria.’ The gruesome lesson is plain: men will cling to life with dogged resolve while working meaningfully, even if that work supports their hated captors. But purposeless labor soon snaps the mind.”

What was true in that Nazi concentration camp is true in your life as well: purposeless labor soon snaps the mind and the spirit. It is important to discover your God-given purpose in life.


Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Choosing Purpose over Aimlessness” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2019.

Charles Colson, “Kingdoms in Conflict” (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1987), 68.

Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.