“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord.” – Jeremiah 29:11
A recent newspaper article captured my interest about an eighty-two year old retired engineer who is dedicating his time and effort toward inventing a low-cost way to purify water in the world’s poorest countries. Although I am a huge proponent of older citizens remaining hard at it, what inspired me most about the story was the man’s deep sense of purpose toward something greater than himself, irrespective of his age.
Stories about the early pioneers who settled around the northwest area of Texas where I grew up fascinate me. I’ve always felt a deep connection to them. After all, they were probably no more than three or four generations removed from my own. What has interested me most about these people, though, is the deep sense of purpose they had that motivated them to migrate into that rugged untamed territory in the first place, a land once described by the Spanish explorer Coronado as uninhabitable. They were people “with steel in their veins,” wrote Carmen Taylor Bennett in her book, Our Roots Grow Deep, and “there burned in their hearts a brighter flame of hope and the prayer that the dim trails they followed led to a home of their own and to a better way of life for them and for the ones they loved.”
It seems to me that people choose one of two ways to live their lives. Some simply muddle through life trying to hold it together, make ends meet, striving to survive or even prosper, hoping to come out ahead. Then there are those who are driven by a greater purpose, motivated by a mission to leave things better off than they are. With the former there’s a sort of apathy about the world, but with the latter there is a sense of passion.
That’s what I loved about the story of the elderly engineer who is out to invent ways to provide clean water to poor countries, and what I’ve always loved about the stories of the pioneer settlers of my native northwest Texas. All have a sense of purpose, and a passion for pursuing that purpose. “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord.” God’s plan for each of us is to fulfill the purpose for which we were created; and it is in the passionate pursuit of that purpose that life is most abundant.