Give Me Purpose or Give Me Death

Last October, Kirk Jones jumped into the currents above Niagara Falls and flew feet first over the brink, plunging 170 feet into the water below. The fall should have killed him; the bodies of most of the others who have tried this have not been found for days. Kirk swam to the Canadian shore and stood up before the police arrived.

As Jones relates, he was rapidly approaching middle age, without a job, a wife, or a home to call his own. He says, “I was a 40-year-old-man with no purpose.” It was a life or death test in which he tempted fate: If he died, his unhappiness would be over; if he lived, his life was bound to be charged with new meaning.

While Jones was confined to a local psychiatric hospital, Diane Sawyer found out he was an Ozzy Osbourne fan, sent him a sweatshirt and invited him to be on Good Morning America. He accepted her offer, after spending three more days in jail and being charged with fines of $3600. He then spent a couple days sightseeing in New York, compliments of GMA.

Fortunately, finding one’s purpose in life does not normally come from confronting God with a test of the take me or tell me clearly variety. Rather, it comes from looking clearly at what God has already told us. We need to look at:

  1. Skills & Abilities
  2. Personality Traits
  3. Goals, Dreams & Passions

These areas are what start the process. From these you will be able to see confirmed direction and the best daily applications.

And unfortunately for Kirk Jones, his quest for a meaningful life is still in question. It appears the greatest benefits were an Ozzy sweatshirt and a free trip to the local mental hospital. Today he has a vague role as a “performer” in the Florida-based Toby Tyler Circus. He’s in a booth right next to the Wolf Family, the Mexican brothers covered from head to toe with hair. Not exactly what I would call fulfilling, meaningful work.

While there may be some merit in tempting death to find your purpose, I really do believe there is a better way.

“That every man find pleasure in his work — this is a gift from God.” Ecc. 3:13

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