"In the spring, when kings go forth to battle, David sent Joab with his servants, and all Israel, and they ravaged the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah."
"A (woman) without purpose is like a ship without a rudder."
What does it mean to me to live a "purposeful" life?
What characteristics would I use to define a purposeful life?
"Those who have a ‘why' to live can bear with almost any ‘how.'"
Victor E. Franke
"Every life should have purpose to which it can give the energies of its mind and the enthusiasms of its heart. That life without a purpose will be prey to the perverted warp waiting for the uncommitted life."
Neil C. Strait
Not long ago, a close friend of my dad's reminded me of the blessings that result when we choose to live purposeful lives. Even though my father has been dead for nearly 25 years, this friend said with a big smile, "I'll never forget your dad's encouraging spirit. He believed in what he was called to do and his devotion to God and his life's purpose rubbed off on everybody he met, Dorothy." Then this gentleman continued, "My life has more purpose because I was his friend."
I was extremely touched, as you might well imagine. But as I reflected on what this person had said, I recognized a fundamental truth and this is that lives of purpose, inspire other lives to live purposely, also.
We need to look no further than our text today to see this truth in practical action. II Samuel 8, 9, and 10 contain a detailed history of the successes David had in following God's direction to cleanse Canaan from those who were living in defiance of the God of heaven and earth - a God of love, graciousness, purity and truth. This was a God most of the Canaanites could have cared less about. And this was why their infiltration into the Israelites' lives had been forbidden by God. It wasn't because God didn't want His children to have any fun or enjoy their lives. The opposite was true. God knew that truth, purity and love are building blocks which give all of His children purposeful lives. So to protect his children, God warned them to keep from associating with those who would bring them down, spiritually, emotionally and even physically.
Under the leadership of David, who at this point in time had committed his life to following God's will and way, we find in the Biblical record that the Israelite army subdued the Philistines. The Moabites became servants to David, bringing tribute." And later in II Samuel 8: 12, 13, we read "From Syria, Moab, the Ammonites, the Philistines, Amalek, and from the spoil of Hadadezer son of Rebob, King of Zobah, David won renown." A purposeful life brought awe to all the nations that had mocked the God of heaven and earth. But something else happened as well. As the children of Israel watched God's power and blessings being poured out on all David did, they were inspired personally until we read in our text for today that when spring time rolled around, and it was time for the annual battles, David didn't have to beg or coerce the people to join the war effort. They volunteered. They eagerly wanted to be part of this God-led endeavor. David's life was witness to God's leading and his life inspired those under his rulership to live their lives with the same verve, direction, and purpose.
When you and I make the choice to live purposeful lives, led by our heavenly Father's guiding hand, we also can know with surety that God's Spirit is growing in us and this same Spirit not only shapes the landscape of our own lives but affects others as well.
I love how author Angela Ashwin describes a purposeful life in her prayer, "Every Part of My Life:" "If every part of my life is with You and in You, Lord, then everything is made good."
It was a purposeful call that heralded the rallying cry and brought all of Israel to follow the path of God in their lives. And this call was followed because David chose to live a life that was a witness to what happens when we follow God's way. In the words of Janet Morley, "Let us not refuse to embrace the cost when it is required of us: that in losing our selves for Your sake, we may be brought to new life."
"Spiritual life depends on the purposes we cherish."
C. H. Spurgeon
Poet and author John Bunyan penned the words to a poem entitled, "The Pilgrim's Song." Since I can't get permission from Mr. Bunyan to modify the "gender" references in this beautiful piece, I want to call it to your attention by the brackets I've used to denote the changes in gender which makes the message of this poem appropriate to all God's children, both women and men.
"The Pilgrim's Song"
"Who would true valour see
Let (them) come hither;
One here will constant be,
Come wind, come weather
There's no discouragement
Shall make (them) once relent
(Their) first avowed intent,
To be a pilgrim.
Who so beset (them) round,
With dismal stories,
Do but themselves confound;
(Their) strength the more is.
No lion can (them) fright,
(They will) with a giant fight,
But (they) will have a right
To be a pilgrim.
Hobgoblin, nor foul fiend
Can daunt (their) spirit:
(They) know that at the end,
(They) shall life inherit.
Then fancies flee away,
Fear not what (others) say,
But labour night and day
To be a pilgrim."
This is the portrait of a purposeful life.
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
P.S. My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is now available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com, Christianbook.com, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian. You can also go to www.whenawomanmeetsjesus.com and purchase the book through Paypal for $8.00. Or by calling Transformation Garden at 1-888-397-4348.
For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.