There are at least 6 billion people on the earth right now (well, I guess we need to exclude those that are in some airplane up in the sky!!). But, let’s make the image of 6 billion a little more manageable, and think of the Ohio State football stadium in Columbus. It seats about 100,000 people. Most will be dressed in red and grey. Picture their excitement, their anticipation, what they had to do to be there that Saturday afternoon. – Make reservations, get their tickets, arrange transportation, and if they drove, to find a parking place, make sure the little children don’t get lost, go through the gates and security checks, and finally find their seats.
The fans watch the teams warm up, with the field goal kickers getting a feel of the wind and the field’s surface texture. Linemen are doing stretching exercises, popping some blocking routines. The offensive team goes through some patterns. The quarterbacks and ends run some routes. Some fans are already buying refreshments and pointing out their favorite players, telling the children, “You want to watch that guy!” There is laughter. People greet others with high fives. Bands are playing, the cheer leaders are cavorting by throwing beautiful girls into the air. Mascots are stirring up the fans. And, the game hasn’t even yet begun!
So, individually, we have 100,000 people gathered in one huge stadium, each with their story of how they got there. At the same time, they are joined by an anticipation, by a purpose – to see their team win the game, and be eligible to play for the national championship game in January. But, of course, there are some fans from Michigan in the stands along with the Ohio State fans. That means that even though the hundred thousand fans are joined by a common purpose and the anticipation of their team winning, that common goal gets divided very quickly by the fact that there are some Michigan fans and there are some Ohio State fans.
The breaking out of one purpose into two purposes can be further broken out. Some fans are hoping to accomplish even more goals, or purposes – impress a client by taking them to season’s final game in Columbus, to set the stage for proposing marriage, take another step in instilling fanaticism for Ohio State football in their 10 year old child, enjoy the afternoon with a friend they haven’t seen for 25 years, impress a high school football player with what it would mean to accept the scholarship offer to play football at Ohio State. You get the idea.
The point is that when we talk about purposes, or goals, or hopes, or anticipations, we need to be prepared for a multi-leveling of goals. We are not limited to satisfying just one goat at a time. One incident or event can satisfy multiple goals simultaneously. Having purposes may sometimes be an either – or situation, but many times having purposes is a both – and situation.
For a person who wants to accomplish God given purposes, does this mean that more than one of God’s purposes can be satisfied by the same incident of obedience? Does this mean or imply, also, that not all of God’s goals and purposes are on the same level???
Ponder this scenario, and feel free to post your comments!!