Monday, July 1, 2019

What's my purpose?

"Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter; Fear God and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man." - Ecclesiastes 12:13

"Joseph, how does a person become aware of their purpose?" the King asked.  I was astonished by the question.  It came suddenly, however looking at the king's expression I knew he was thinking about it for some time.  We were seated at a table having supper with guests he had invited to the palace.  Almost a year had passed since the period of famine and drought had ended and the king had invited them to the palace to celebrate.  There were long periods of rain and things were beginning to return to normal.  The fields were green again with lush vegetation.  It was indeed a picturesque scene.  The view of pure rocky mountains in the distance was replaced by breath-taking peaks of different shades of green.  The river Nile was once more an attraction and a source of water for farmers crops along its bank.  They were harvesting their crops again and commerce was slowly returning to normal in Egypt. The country was returning to its glory days and Pharoah wanted to commemorate the success the country was experiencing after exiting such a turbulent period of its history.
I was congratulated and honored for the role I played during that time.  Many dignitaries and officials wanted to meet me as they heard about my beginnings in Egypt as a slave and saw my transcendence to my current position as remarkable.  I used the opportunity to extol the one to who all the credit was due - Jehovah himself.
"Take a look at the soldiers around you," I responded.  Looking away from me he slowly surveyed the room. The guests at the table did the same as their faces expressed a look of bewilderment.  "What's wrong with them?" Pharaoh asked puzzled. "Nothing," I responded quickly, "but what do you think their purpose is at this point in time?"
"To serve and to protect me - their king and carry out my commands," he replied.
"And once they are relieved of their duties and return home what is their purpose then?" I asked.  He paused for a moment to think; slowly placing his left elbow on the table he braced his left cheek with his left fist and with his right hand he began gently pulling his beard.
     As we spoke the guests were looking around and at each listening intently to the conversation.
"There are a few ways to answer the question O king," I began as he turned to face me, "however I will only use three to make my point.  You have those who only see their current position in your army as a job.  They have no idea where their loyalty is and so they go about their lives one day at a time.  They only wish to be paid do not wish to have the responsibilities that come with promotion as they are simply satisfied serving the king in their current position while hoping one day they can live like a king.  Your lifestyle is appealing to them but they are not motivated enough to take the necessary steps.   When they go home the last thing on their mind is you O king as they become preoccupied with their own.  In the next group are those who are loyal only to themselves and they constantly look for ways to 'promote' themselves under the guise of loyalty.  They use their gifts and their talents only for their own glory and benefit.  In the final group are those who see the king as their life.  Every aspect of their life is dedicated to the service of you O king.  If they are home no one dares speaks ill of you in their presence.  They will defend you with their last breath.  They see their duty and purpose for living as one - to serve their king."  They cannot be bought or bribed into doing anything to harm you.  All their talents are dedicated to you and in this, they find meaning and fulfillment.  They are happiest when they are doing the king's bidding."
     "This third group helps to define what everyone's purpose in life is; to serve and worship the king of kings in everything they do.  When I was a lad my father would make me memorize such quotes as 'Whatever your hands find to do, do it with all your might' (Ecclesiastes 9:10), and another 'Seest thou a man diligent in his business? He shall stand before kings.' (Proverbs 22:29).  O king you have seen first hand the truth of these statements."
     The king smiled while nodding his head in agreement.  The guests were also pleased by the answer as they indicated by nodding to each other.  The focus was turned back to me when the king leaned forward again and asked, "How can you tell the difference between the second group and the third; who are doing their own bidding and who is doing it for the glory of the king?"
     Again the gaze was on me.  "When an individual," I began, "seeks glory for themselves they wish to be rewarded by others.  When this doesn't occur within a certain timeline they tend to become disgruntled and there is a change to who they honor. My father had me repeat to him several times a day as I worked, 'let your light so shine before men, so they may see your good works and give glory to your father who is in heaven.' (Matthew 5:16) until he was sure my actions reflected who I served: the God of heaven and I honor Him by serving others as best as I can seeking nothing in return from them; hence humility in leadership - this is not thinking less of yourself but thinking about yourself less (Kenneth Blanchard)."
     "Well said," replied the king smiling as the guests nodded in agreement while others applauded. 

This blog - Joseph's Memoirsis based on the biblical story of Joseph (Genesis 37 through 47) the eleventh son of Jacob.  It shows the applications of the stories a loving father passed on to his son who would use them as tools of transformation to later become second in command in the land of Egypt.  These lessons are the cornerstone of the lives of the most successful individuals and corporations today.  You are where you are today not because of what you don't know but because of what you fail to do.  You can find more lessons and applications for your daily life in the book: Joseph's Memoirs: Life Lessons For a Successful You.   

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