by Ty Carlson
When someone asks what my favorite movie is, I tend have a hard time answering. Do they mean my favorite comedy? Elf, hands down. Do they mean my favorite creepy movie? Secret Window, no doubt. Favorite kids movie? Lego movie 1 and 2, obviously.
Despite the inner turmoil I feel when someone asks me that, within certain circles, the question that is being asked is “which Indiana Jones movie is your favorite?” Now, I’ll be honest, I watched them a while back and yes, they’re pretty great, but favorite? I wouldn’t go that far. When this is verbalized, to responses of shocked horror and the occasional fainting spell, the incredulous questions usually boil down to “what about The Last Crusade?”
Honestly, there’s only one part I really remember of that movie, and it’s at the end, where Indiana Jones has to choose the cup that Jesus drank from (or something like that). There are hundreds of beautifully ornate cups and shimmering golden goblets standing like silent sentinels on the table. What Jones recognizes is that Jesus wasn’t ornate. He wasn’t gilded and sparkling in the streets. He was simple and here for a purpose.
In order to best the riddle, Indiana Jones chooses a nondescript wooden cup. Hewn roughly from a single block of wood, it’s simple in its design, and lacks any special attributes at all. It was made for a single purpose, be hold water. He chooses that cup, drinks the holy water or whatever, and bests the old dude.
If I can borrow this scene for a minute, I think it’s important that we look at our lives in this particular way, the same way Indiana Jones looked for something that was made for a purpose. Too many times in my own life, I’ve looked for ways to show my spirituality. Or, and being brutally honest here, to show how amazing I am. I’m not being cheeky, here, either. And I think if most of us take stock of our motivations for doing things, it’s usually because we think we are amazing at whatever it is.
But if we’re made for a purpose, with a purpose in mind, I think we need to take a little deeper look at what the scriptures say about what the purpose could be.
In Luke 8, verse 16, it says “No one after lighting a lamp covers it with a jar or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a stand so that those who enter may see the light” (ESV). Lamps are, traditionally, made to light up dark spaces. They can be decorative or fancy, but they are singular in their purpose – to provide light.
I believe that we are made with a singular purpose, as well. There are things we can do outside of the purpose, but it doesn’t diminish the reason for our being. Just like a lamp could hold things, or you could stack things on top of it, I guess, but it’s purpose of being a light-bearer hasn’t been replaced.
Another verse in Ephesians says “for we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (2:10 ESV). We were created for a purpose, for good works, that God set us up for. The scripture is pretty clear that we weren’t made to aimlessly wander the surface of the globe until we die. There are a multitude of verses that speak to the purpose of being created. Some of them speak of being honorable vessels for God while there are others that speak about dishonorable vessels. In the end, however, isn’t that up to God? (2 Timothy 2:20 and 2 Corinthians 4:7).
Our jobs, our purpose on this world is to be a light to dark places. We were created for a singular purpose, to spread that light and reach as many people as we are able.
So I’ll end with this, are the lamp on the stand, or are you working to find purpose in things that will never be fulfilling for more than a few heartbeats? If we chase those heartbeats, eventually they’ll end and what will we be left with?