Living on Purpose: Living Carelessly is Costly

The beginning of a New Year is a good time to reflect on our lives and determine what we might want to do differently. As a result many of us make new year resolutions.  I read a story about the tribe of Dan and people of Laish that prompted me to ask this question “Am I living on Purpose?”
In this story (Judges 18), the tribe of Dan had outgrown their allotted land so they sent five men to look for additional land that they might capture. The five men headed north to spy and explore the town of Laish. Upon arriving there, they found that the people of Laish were living in safety, unsuspecting and secure. They noted that the land was very fertile and that the people lacked nothing and were prosperous.   They also observed that the Laishites lived in isolation and had no relationship with anyone. Even their closest neighbors, the Sidonians lived far away.
The five spies from the tribe of Dan went back and shared their observations about Laish with their brothers. They noted that it would be easy to attack Laish because the peop

le were peaceful and unsuspecting and lived under a false sense of security. No one would come to their rescue because Laish had no relationship with anyone else.  Their closest neighbors, the Sidonians, were far away.  Moreover, land was fertile, spacious and lacked nothing whatsoever. Following this report, six hundred armed men from the tribe of Dan attacked Laish, took over the land and destroyed the town.  Afterwards the city was renamed Dan.

The people of Laish were not living on purpose; rather they lived at ease and were complacent. They were under no apprehension of danger, they were totally clueless. They had everything at their disposal.   Affluence can be deceptive and lure us into a false sense of security making us feel that we have everything and so we need no one.  Like the people of Laish, we too can become independent and isolated. We can become complacent and forget our calling or purpose. This type of careless living makes us vulnerable to the enemy.  The Laishites were living in safety, unsuspecting and unguarded; therefore, they were easy prey to the invaders.  The Laishites cared for no one so no one came to their rescue when they were attacked.  Their careless living cost them their land and lives.
If we contrast the Laishites to Paul, Moses or Peter, we see that these men lived on purpose.  They knew their calling and stayed focused. Paul’s calling was to proclaim the gospel of Jesus to the Gentiles. According to Philippians for 3:12-14 Paul gave up everything to pursue this calling. Although he suffered multiple beatings, imprisonment and ship wreck as a result of pursuing his calling, he pressed on to take hold of that for which Christ took hold of him. Peter’s calling was to proclaim the gospel to the Jews while Moses’ calling was to deliver the children of Israel from slavery in Egypt. Each man knew his mission and didn’t go about it in a lackadaisical manner. They were not complacent.  They followed God closely and did whatever was necessary to stay on course regardless of the obstacles.
We also have modern-day examples such as Billy Graham whose life mission has been to spread the gospel to all nations; Mother Teresa shared the gospel with the poor in India while Joni Erickson Tada’s mission is to spread the gospel of Jesus among the disabled people all over the world.
As we embark on this New Year let us ask ourselves, “what is our purpose”? Are we diligently seeking and pursuing that purpose or are we living carelessly?
O Lord, we are your masterpieces, created to do good things that you planned for us long ago. Forgive us when we have veered off course.  Help us to identify our purpose. Give us your grace and power to live on purpose and bring glory to your name. Amen.
Scriptures: Judges 18:1-2, 7-11, 27-28; Joshua 19:40-47, Philippians 3:7-14, Philippians 4:13, Ephesians 2:10

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