A great purpose will take you places

Published 6:35 pm Monday, April 22, 2019

Dr. Orison Swett Marden, American inspirational author who wrote about achieving success, once stated, “There’s no grander sight in the world than that of a person fired with a great purpose, dominated by one unwavering aim.”

  I suppose that is the reason for the popularity of the biblical character, Nehemiah. He is such a noted example of Dr. Marden’s wisdom.

Nehemiah’s dream or purpose for rebuilding the broken walls of Jerusalem seemed such a hopeless task. The walls were in ruins, the people were scattered and everyone was discouraged and despondent. And all around were these enemies, who wanted no strong Jerusalem, doing everything in their power to prevent it. They tried both ridicule and persuasion. Then they put their heads together and plotted, while Nehemiah went right on with his efforts. Four times the demand went up, and four times the answer came down, “I’m doing a great work, and I cannot come down” (Nehemiah 6:3).

It’s the only thing that keeps anybody up or moving-a dream, a vision, a purpose-that’s worth giving your life to. How wonderful and inspiring it is to see a person so caught up in a great dream that nothing can deter him/her. Such was and is the power of Nehemiah’s great purpose.

Walt Kallestad, well-known pastor in Arizona, put it like this: “Dreams can help us see the invisible, believe the incredible, and achieve the impossible.”

For a moment, I want us to consider the power of a great dream or purpose. First, it will enable us to believe in ourselves.

Countless people who have learned how to keep going report that at least one of the ingredients for endurance is the understanding of the meaning of one’s life.

These people believe that every life has a purpose. They know that none of us can do everything, but  that all of us can do something. They believe in themselves.

Second, it will enable us to handle criticism! There seems to be an unwritten commandment in every area of life which says, “Thou shalt not be different.” The moment anyone begins to be different — “moves  beyond the beaten path” — look out, he/she becomes the target of the envious, the suspicious and sometimes even the malicious.

The late President Roosevelt, speaking of the smear tactics which is one of America’s most besetting sins today, said, “The worst thing about being a president is that you have to be a candidate.”

I wonder how many folks who have recently run for public office feel like the late President Roosevelt. Isn’t it amazing that in every election some people would rather criticize their opponents and say what they are against rather than say what they are for and how their candidacy will make for a better society.

However, when a person is captivated by a noble dream or purpose, he/she for the most part will take both criticism or praise in stride.

Third, it will enable us to prioritize! A person with a great dream knows what he/she is willing to give up in order to fulfill the dream. The dominant question is always, “Will it contribute to the dream?”

I can’t imagine all that went into the University of Virginia’s winning the 2019 National Basketball Championship. However, I am sure it included intensive recruiting, excellent coaching, endless practicing, relentless team building and a deep determination.

Another thing had to contribute. Last year Virginia was ranked number one when “March Madness” began, and the team lost in the opening round to the 16th ranked team. For Virginia, it was an embarrassment.

But as one of the Virginia’s players stated after one of their victories this year, “After last year, we dedicated ourselves to winning the National Championship this year.” And they did. It was their purpose.

Nehemiah purposed, “I’m doing a great work and I cannot come down.”

A great dream or purpose will keep us going.