Solidarity of Purpose

>> Saturday, February 19, 2011

As I read of great men of faith throughout history, I'm often entertained by the diversity of their experiences while equally encouraged by the singularity of their core purpose.  I'm amazed at how often I find the common thread of their existence, their soul's purpose always seems to be this - to glorify God.

While reading from "The Shadow of the Broad Brim", the life and ministry of C.H. Spurgeon, I was gripped again by the solidarity of purpose.  We find it in men of the bible, men of church history and contemporary Christ-followers today.

Moses exemplified this purpose when he asks of God to "show me now your ways, that I may know you in order to find favor in your sight..." (Exodus 33) and then proclaims to God "if your presence does not go with me, do not bring us up from here".  Moses was more content to wander continually in the desert with God's presence than to lead the people forward without God's presence. 

David exemplified this purpose when he proclaimed this prayer to God, "For you are great and do wondrous things; you alone are God.  Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.  I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever." (Psalm 86)  David was not perfect, he had flaws - big ones.  But he was known as a man after God's own heart because in his deepest failures he was repentant and humble to acknowledge a merciful God as the sole source of deliverance and provision.

Nehemiah exemplified this purpose when he wept, mourned, fasted and prayer to God for the remnant of Israel and for the desolation of Jerusalem to be repaired, reclaimed and restored.  His prayer of petition and repentance is powerfully humble.  Nehemiah in confession to God recalls the promise of the Great God to "gather (Israel) and bring them to the place that (God) has chosen, to make (God's) name dwell there".  In the midst of his repentant heart that burned for his people to be reclaimed and his city to be restored, Nehemiah above all cries out to God to bring them back so that God's name would be made to dwell there.  Nehemiah begged of God to allow his grace and mercy and patience toward his people to be a way that the reputation of God's name would be most magnified.

Paul exemplified this purpose when he proclaimed "far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world." (Galatians 6)  Paul certainly lived a life of monumental accomplishments.  To this day, perhaps revered as one of the most genuine examples of a Christ-follower.  We are encouraged and implored by his letters to the churches.  Above all things, Paul's life ambition was to be minimized so that Christ and the Cross would be most maximized. 

That brings me to Charles Haddon Spurgeon's journal entry on May 3, 1850:

I vow to glory alone in Jesus and His cross, and to spend my life in the extension of His cause, in whatsoever way He pleases.  I desire to be sincere in this solemn profession, having but one object in view, and that to glorify Christ.  Help me to honor Thee, and live the life of Christ on earth!

Spurgeon was 16 years old and was awaiting final arrangements that would allow his entry into the Cambridge School of E.S. Leedings.  He would study for 3 years but not enter the university because of his call to ministry which he highly prized.  In a letter to his father, a young Spurgeon writes " I long for the time when it may please God to make me a successful preacher of the gospel..."  But it's how he then defines success that grips me - "Oh, that I might see one sinner constrained to come to Jesus!  I almost envy the exalted privilege."

I want my life to count.  I have a most wonderful heavenly Father, and most magnificent heavenly King, and most miraculous position as a joint-heir to the Kingdom.  I want my life to look worthy of the calling.

Like Moses, I want that God's presence always be with me.

Like David, I want my heart to be one of continual repentance and humility.

Like Nehemiah, I want my heart to yearn for God to reclaim, restore, rebuild a place for His name to dwell.

Like Paul, I want to be made low that Christ and the Cross might be magnified.

Like C.H. Spurgeon, I want to spend my life in the extension of God's cause, in whatever pleases Him.

Not that I desire to be a "great man of faith".  But I desire above all to be found worthy of God's calling, to one day hear "well done good and faithful servant".  I desire this so that God is most glorified.  It's the way God has chosen to accomplish His glory, and I am pleased in it.

aiming to be found faithful,


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