Lines of Purpose

One of my favourite verses in Scripture these days comes from Colossians 1 in the Message:

The lines of purpose in your lives never grow slack, tightly tied as they are to your future in Heaven, kept taut by hope.”

This single sentence has captured me since I first read it a few weeks ago, and I’ve been coming back to it over and over again, daring to dream that these words might one day be true of me!

I so often catch myself overwhelmed and drifting, or frantic and kept taut by stress, but this verse has been a touchstone for me to find a middle place. I’ve been trying to listen for the hope that whispers purpose into the mundane or the simple. Instead of resigning myself to life as a tangled heap of marionette limbs being pulled in all directions, I’ve been reflecting on what my lines of purpose are really tied to.

The truth is that a lot of what I do revolves around meeting expectations from others and myself – nothing to do with my future in Heaven, and they certainly don’t move me toward hope! The “hope” I chase after is that I can juggle all the balls for long enough to make a good impression before I fall apart behind closed doors, exhausted. And I’m not accomplishing anything great in the meantime! I’m not pouring myself outhelping refugees or visiting the lonely or praying for the sick or even being a good parent; I’m fretting and spinning my wheels, procrastinating, or prioritizing chores that won’t even stay done for 18 hours.

Exhale.

Does that sound familiar at all?

This Summer Matt and I had the trip of a lifetime and hiked the Tour de Mont Blanc. Google it – it’s phenomenal! One of our highlights was on the last day of our hike, early in the day. We passed by a statue called Christ-Roi, which you can learn a little more about here.

Image result for christ roi statue chamonix

The statue is built overlooking Mont Blanc and the surrounding area, with a chapel at the base and a narrow wooden stairway to the top of Jesus’ face. Matt and I had taken some photos from the chapel lookout and were just getting our backpacks on to continue hiking when we saw a priest coming up the path with a cane. He was coming to open the chapel for Summer Masses that would be held weekly through July and August, and he asked if we’d like to go up the statue!

If I’d known that Jesus’ crown had a wasps’ nest in it, I might have not taken him up on the offer, but Matt and I sure weren’t scared of a little dust! The priest unlocked the chapel, and up we climbed for 25 metres where we saw that indeed there was a slightly better view of Mont Blanc and the surrounding area, and there were also about 15 wasps coming and going in front of our faces. That was more than enough for me!

What I remember most of this whole experience was a moment as we got back on the trail and I turned back toward the back of the statue with the open chapel doors, and this elderly priest in his black habit faithfully sweeping leaves and dust from the past year out of the chapel into the forest. It moved me the same way this verse from Colossians makes me catch my breath – he exuded absolute peace in faithfully completing the task he’d come to do. This priest was firmly grounded in his purpose, from ascending several hundred meters of forest trail with a cane, to greeting tourists and showing hospitality to them (and to the wasps! We told him about them so he’d not be caught by surprise like we were and he casually responded, “it’s still early in the season. When it gets hotter they’ll go away.” AS IF), and to prepare the chapel for Mass, whether 5 or 50 people came.

Tied to your future in Heaven, kept taut by hope: this is how I want to define the lines of purpose in my life. I don’t want to pour myself out to build a life that will disappear along with me when I die, and I don’t believe God has called me to serve him out of fear or guilt. I want to be fueled with hope and driven by a hope that keeps growing and expanding, never letting me get complacent.

It’s the kind of thing you could pursue for a lifetime, don’t you think?

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Comments

Susan 17-08-2017, 01:05

Definitely a lifetime for me! I’m so easily distracted… I wonder what it takes to just stay focused. Thanks for the reminder.

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