There once was a man standing in a magnificent garden. A place full of life. A place where life flourished. But the man’s story is about to go sideways and so are the stories of his wife and his children down through innumerable generations.
Have you ever thought about your purpose?
Of course you have. We all do. Purpose is a simple word with profound power and impact. If we don’t have it, we flounder. If we do, we thrive.
As men created in the image of God, in order to find our purpose we must first look at God’s purpose from the beginning.
So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. – Genesis 1:27
Let’s start with a question … Why did God create?
We find our purpose in and through God’s purpose in creation. His love. Looking at it from another direction, how did God first demonstrate his love? He created. If you look at the account of creation in Genesis 1 & 2 God demonstrated his love not only by creating but by creating an environment where life could flourish - light & dark – Day 1; water & sky – Day 2; dry ground & plants – Day 3; sun, moon & stars – Day 4; birds & sea creatures – Day 6; land animals & finally man – Day 6.
Notice that beginning on Day 3, with the creation of living things, “God saw that it was good.” Now, the Hebrew word that is translated here as good is “tov”. But the Hebrew word tov has a much deeper, richer, more life producing meaning than our simple English word “good” conveys.
Tov, as used in Genesis, means that God saw that what he created was not simply good or pleasant but functional and fully capable of performing both his desire and its purpose in creation. What God created was able to multiply, to recreate, to bring forth life, to flourish.
So, when God had completed his initial creation, he then gave all he had created to Adam and told him, “It’s yours, Adam, I give it all to you. Take charge of it and care for it.“ God demonstrated his purpose through his love in creation. He created an environment where life could flourish. Where life both physical and spiritual could reproduce, multiply, and bring forth life. Tov for everything that grows, swims, flies and walks. And, especially for Adam and Eve.
What does that mean for our purpose as men?
We, as men, have been created in the image of God. And, in his image and in its simplest form, our purpose, as men, is also to create an environment where life can flourish.
First for ourselves then, if we are married, for our wives, and our families, those closest to us, and then for the people around us in ever widening circles of relationship.
For those of us who are married, how does that manifest itself in our marriages and in our relationships with those around us? Paul gives a guideline in Ephesians (5:21, 25-28) when he says:
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.
What is the practical, physical result, in marriage, of a man creating an environment where life can flourish?
The clearest example is in Proverbs 31:
A woman of valor who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life… Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land. – Proverbs 31: 10-12, 23
Notice that her husband is known at that city gates where he sits with the prominent men of the land.
Why is he know?
He is not known because of who he is but because of who SHE is! And why? Because he has created an environment in his life and in his home where life and thus, in the context of her life and culture, his wife can flourish! He has created an environment where she can be all that God created her to be.
Now for those of you who are single, don’t tune me out … The apostle John said in 1 John (44:19-21):
"We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister."
So single guys, you are NOT off the hook!
Simply put … to fulfill your purpose, whether married or single, to be the man God created you to be, you must create an environment where life can flourish.
In your home. In your work. In your relationships. In your community. In your world. Your purpose is simple. Create an environment where life can flourish.
Sounds great right? But why is it so dang hard to create a flourishing environment for those around us?
In my next post, I will discuss The Opposition and a few simple practices we can use to fight back.