by Lauren Crane
In the midst of a purposeless generation, Tony Evans said the people of God should be about fulfilling the purposes of God.
When Evans, a nationally-known speaker, teacher, author and pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas, spoke to Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary on May 12, he urged the men and women to follow the example of David set forth in Acts 13:36. “For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep,” Evans said, reading from the passage.
“We have a purposeless generation that floats from one thing to another with no purpose or passion.” In looking at the popularity of Seinfeld, a show “about nothing,” Evans said it is easy to see that we are a “plotless people who love a plotless program. This sense of pervading emptiness and purposelessness has led people to try and escape to find hope and meaning in their lives.”
The question people should be asking isn’t “Why am I here?” but “What am I here for?” Evans said. “If you don’t know what you’re here for, you’ll be distracted by the myriad of voices trying to sidetrack you.”
This summary statement about the life of David, found in Acts 13, is one in which we’re simply told that he served the purposes of God, Evans said. “He had a divine reason for being, a rationale on his life, an assignment given to him.
“There is something about you that you are designed to fulfill.” Using the metaphor of a manufacturer and an appliance, Evans said, “The manufacturer of your life has a pre-described purpose for your life. You must know the God of whose purpose you’ll serve. God wants to be the focal point, the sun of your solar system of life. Everything revolves around him.”
Evans said David was able to fulfill his purpose because he understood he was on display to draw others into the kingdom, where there was so much more than what he himself could offer. Like David though, Evans said our ability to serve the purposes of God is tied into our willingness to do it. “In terms of your purpose, your usefulness will be tied to your voracity for service. Your usefulness changes your value – that’s why there are rewards in the kingdom of God.”
When David served the purposes of God, lives were impacted. “There are a lot of good-looking failures today – people that make a good impression, though doing very little. If you can’t show impact, if you can’t show where you’ve made a difference, then you’re a good-looking failure. David’s life, imperfect as it was, was still impactful.”
Even if people are willing to be used by God, they must still discern and learn their purpose. Evans said the first thing to look at is where your passions lie. “Your purpose will always cross your passion. It’s a gifting – an ability you have or that can be developed that you can do in the purpose of your life.”
Even past experiences, good or bad, can be used for the kingdom of God. “There are mistakes you’ve made and failures you’ve had. God has the ability to heal a crooked stick. He can take the bad and make it better. When repentance has taken place, he can use it.”
The second part of the verse tells us that David died after he accomplished his purpose for God. “You’re not in the land of the living on the way to the land of the dying. You’re in the land of the dead on your way to the land of the living. That’s why the Psalmist says, ‘Teach us to number our days,’ so when this time is over it can be said that you served the purposes of God.”
The mission of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ by equipping students to serve the church and fulfill the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20). Southeastern is an institution of higher learning and a Cooperate Program ministry of the Southern Baptist Convention.