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Different Ways People Are Fulfilling Their Purpose And Assignment

Her father was an unsuccessful shoemaker, and a drunk. Due to poverty, she was forced to begin working at a factory at age 14 to help support her family. She was one of only four surviving children of the parents, and the only one to live above 30 years of age. She was only five feet tall, and by most of today’s standards, may well have been voted the least likely to succeed.

However, deep within her soul was a genuine resolve to follow in the steps of other people who spent their lives in search of something greater than they were. A holy fire burned in her soul. It was the knowledge that there was more to life than she had experienced. She wanted to live for a Cause far greater than herself.

So, at the age of 27, she enrolled to be a missionary to Africa. This was in 1873! The situation in African at that time was certainly less than inviting, to say the least, yet, something in her won’t let go of the dream to go make a difference. She was sent to Calabar, Nigeria, at the age of 28. She gallantly faced hardships unimaginable to the modern individual. She was flown back to Scotland twice on account of serious illness, yet she survived, and went back to live among the natives of Calabar. She lived with, and served the natives for about 40 years before she died January 13, 1915.

That was Mary Slessor, the ‘white ma of Africa’. I am wondering...what could motivate a woman like Mary prefer to live among the poor and suffer hardships with the people she served? It was her love for Jesus Christ, and her desire to live for Him who is infinitely greater than she is. For Mary, her search for meaning was attained through her faith in Christ, and expressed by her extraordinary service to Him through her missionary activities in Calabar, Nigeria.

Yes, for Mary Slessor, living out her purpose, and her search for meaning, required a dramatic lifestyle like the one we just discribed. But purpose comes in different shades and styles. Purpose could come to town, live for years in the neighborhood, and not even be noticed, much less, recognzed for who she is. Ah, how simple, but infinitely profound, can purpose be, both in appearance and in its effect.

This was certainly the case in the life of a precious woman who lives in the same community as mine. She was well educated, with a Masters degree in Music, which was her passion. But somewhere along those years of schooling, she got saved, and was also healed of severe artritic pains. She found Jesus Christ as Savior and friend.

While her fellow graduands were busy planning for a future career, marriage and family, she dedicated herself to serving her local church in prayer for the rest of her life. She is not on staff of the church, and so does not recieve salary. She coaches individuls on music lessons, and uses the small proceeds from that to support herself. She chose not to marry and have not had regrets about it.For her, loving and serving her savior and friend was more important. She has already spent about two decades living for, and serving her Lord.

Now, this is happening in 21st century United States of America. Everyday, this woman recieves prayer requests from hurting members of her church, who are certain that godly prayers will be offered up on their behalf, often with tears. She has borne so many griefs and pains on behalf of the people of God, still she feels that she hasn't done enough for her dear Lord and friend. Hers is a secret assignment, stripped of the 'glamor' and affirmation that go with pulpit or even music ministry.

I call her 'sister' Linda. Probably, the 'sister' is my way of expressing endearment to this saint of God, or may be, it is an expression of my healthy awe of her commitment to living out the purpose of God for her life and the holy life to which she is dedicated. Either way, sister Linda reminds me daily of not only the power of purpose when it takes hold of an individual, but also the simplicity by which purpose can be lived out even in this postmodern world. She did not go out to Africa like Mary Slessor did, but right in her own community and in her local church, she is daily living the purpose of God, and finding meaning and joy.

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