SSDD! You know, “same stuff, different day.” That’s the way a buddy of mine would answer as we started our workday at a factory where I worked after school in my teenage years. He had been with this company for many years and had had the same job in the factory refurbishing water meters. It was monotonous work. Same stuff, different day.
We can start feeling like this in our everyday lives after a while. And, sometimes this is comforting. We know what to expect. There are no surprises and there is a sense of safety. But, other times we can find this kind of life boring and unfulfilling.
So, what’s the balance between being dependable and being free from the dangerous boredom of mediocrity and no growth?
Listen to our Scripture Lesson today in Isaiah 14:24-32:
The LORD of hosts has sworn: “As I have planned, so shall it be, and as I have purposed, so shall it stand, that I will break the Assyrian in my land, and upon my mountains trample him under foot; and his yoke shall depart from them, and his burden from their shoulder.” This is the purpose that is purposed concerning the whole earth; and this is the hand that is stretched out over all the nations. For the LORD of hosts has purposed, and who will annul it? His hand is stretched out, and who will turn it back? In the year that King Ahaz died came this oracle: “Rejoice not, O Philistia, all of you, that the rod which smote you is broken, for from the serpent’s root will come forth an adder, and its fruit will be a flying serpent. And the first-born of the poor will feed, and the needy lie down in safety; but I will kill your root with famine, and your remnant I will slay. Wail, O gate; cry, O city; melt in fear, O Philistia, all of you! For smoke comes out of the north, and there is no straggler in his ranks.” What will one answer the messengers of the nation? “The LORD has founded Zion, and in her the afflicted of his people find refuge.”
God is speaking through His prophet, Isaiah to tell the beleaguered people of Israel that He has not forgotten them nor has He given up on His promises to them. He also warns the surrounding nations that He isn’t going to ignore their behavior either. God’s first declaration in the very first verse of this passage gives us a hint in just how a big enough theology creates a significant purpose. The Lord declares: “The LORD of hosts has sworn: “As I have planned, so shall it be, and as I have purposed, so shall it stand…”
The labor to understand your own purpose and even the purpose of creation, starts with your vision of God. If your vision of God is of a dotting old grandfather figure who is just there to make you feel better, then know your idea of your purpose will never mature to its proper place. If your idea of God is one of a distant and angry deity, then know your purpose will never mature beyond either your rejection of Him or your need to constantly try to appease Him. You will never truly love a god you are sure is easily offended or so easily manipulated by your own bad behaviors. In both of these ideas about god, notice please, that you are actually in control of the dotting old grandfather AND the angry deity. You are actually the center of attention and this god of yours is the one who has to be taken care of to either get what you want or keep him happy.
And that simply is too small a god to ever discover your real purpose!
So, the key to knowing your purpose and actually becoming what you were intended to become lies in your willingness to make sure you don’t settle on a picture of God that is too small. The more accurate your vision of God, the more profound and fulfilling your purpose will be.
Today, as we do serious and purposeful spiritual labor to remind even our eating habits just how big our God is, the Church calls us to humbly work to know God as He really IS in Jesus Christ. God is Awesome. God is Beyond us. God is LOVE. God is trustworthy. God is going to accomplish His purpose for His creation. Now the only issue to be settled is will we be humble enough, wise enough, courageous enough to participate in His purposes, to be Orthodox on Purpose ourselves?
P.S. 12 Holy Apostles Greek Orthodox Church in Duluth, MN celebrates their Centennial this coming weekend and Fr. Barnabas is the featured speaker at their celebration. You are invited to attend. For more information go to https://www.12holyapostles.org/centennial.html