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Sense of Purpose

Read 1 Thessalonians 5:12-23

But we appeal to you, brothers and sisters, to respect those who labor among you, and have charge of you in the Lord and admonish you; esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. And we urge you, beloved to admonish the idlers, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with all of them. See that none of you repays good for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise the words of the prophets, but test everything; hold fast to what is good; abstain from every form of evil.

1 Thessalonians 5:12-22 (NRSV)

Linda Coggin, from British Columbia, Canada, didn't intend to retire, but she lost her job at 64. Then they moved because her husband changed jobs. Shortly after their relocation, Linda was able to take two extended trips to be with a family member in crisis and later to welcome her new grandson. These would not have been possible had she started a new job. But Linda missed the sense of purpose and the structure that her profession had provided, and she wasn't sure how to fill her days. She realized that she could keep mourning what she had lost or choose to actively nurture a new sense of purpose for her life.

We choose each day how to live out our discipleship. Linda does not believe there are days when nothing important happens. Paul reminds us in 1 Thessalonians of God's will for our lives: We are to rejoice always, pray constantly, and give thanks in all circumstances. But such simple directives are impossible to follow when we focus on what is wrong rather than what is right.

Linda now chooses to begin and end her day in prayerful reflection, paying attention to the goodness of God that surrounds her. She reviews the day with gratitude - even the parts that were difficult - and deliberately names the joys. When she chooses to rejoice, pray, and give thanks, she can see beyond her circumstances, and her heart is oriented toward God's purpose.

Prayer: O God, we pray that our words and actions will reflect gratitude for your presence and provision on this day, in Jesus' name. Amen.


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