Day 1: It All Starts with God – 40 Days of Purpose by Rick Warren

What on Earth Am I Here For?

Point to Ponder: It’s not about me.

Verse to Remember: “Everything got started in him, and finds its purpose in him.” — Colossians 1:16b (Msg)

Question to Consider: In spite of all the advertising around me, how can I remind myself that life is really about living for God, not myself?

[Read More] thoughts on Day 1 of Rick Warren‘s Purpose-Driven Life* including why I decided to spend the first 40 days of 2006 on this book.

I’ve always been fascinated by purpose, or teleology. My vision of Systems Theory is grounded in purpose, as are my attempts to reform education and governance [and business]. Thus, I was intrigued when I first heard of Rick Warren’s 40 Days of Purpose — even more when I learned he was a disciple of the late Peter Drucker. Oddly, though, I’ve never gone through the whole thing before. As long-time readers of my blog (are there any?) would know, I did 40 Days of Community last spring with my local church, and I’ve discussed 40 Days of Purpose a few times of my mailing lists. I even followed along via email while my “home church” in San Jose did the series. But, I’ve never gone through the whole thing myself.

Last month I finally looked at the book, which had been sitting around my house for quite a while. I actually didn’t know that the book itself was organized as a 40 Day journey (having only seen the ‘workbook’ version). So, I decided to use it to start the new year, blogging my reactions as I did before. Interestingly, this time I did find another 40 Days blog — also by a Marketing guy! Google finds very few positive, or even sympathetic treatments of this material, so I hope I can do my part.

I don’t necessarily agree with everything Rick Warren says, but I definitely buy into his basic premises:

* Life has a purpose
* It’s really important to know what that purpose is
* We can’t find it by introspection
* Ultimately, it all comes back to God

To be sure, every person has more than one purpose, just as we have different roles and subsystems, and some of them are discernible by reason and intuition. My body is happy when it fulfills its various biological purposes, after all, just like my mind is fulfilled by problem-solving or my soul by entertainment and art. The question is, does my life have an overall transcendent purpose larger than any of those?

The more I think about it, the more convinced I am that either life is fundamentally absurd (i.e., there is nothing transcendent at all) or the purpose of life is perfectly manifested in the person of Jesus Christ. I must admit, sometimes I still waffle between the two. However, as a matter of pure observation: people (including myself) who take the leap of faith and believe that Jesus is real appear able to latch onto a very powerful and useful source of insight and motivation.

I still don’t understand it all, and — more seriously — fail to practice it consistently. But, the brute fact is that I live much better when I do, even if I do occasionally need to go backwards in order to move forward. I’m hoping that these 40 days will help pull my reason and emotion outward, that I might better find my purpose in God.

Prayer: God, I give you these next 40 Days as a public experiment. May I be faithful to pursue you and your purpose in me, through Christ. May you glorify yourself in your servant, that I — and the world — may see your power, holiness, and love. Not for my glory, or Rick Warren’s, but yours alone. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.