When I was introduced to the Book of Zhuangzi (Chuang Tzu), I was completely puzzled by the beginning of the book, which talks about an enormous fish thousands of miles long. It changes into a birth with a wingspan of thousands of miles wide. It says,
It didn’t make sense to me, and I wondered what the author was trying to say. After years of study, I realized the author talks about a person with a higher purpose. He encourages the reader not just to have a purpose but an immense purpose to live a meaningful life. It’s about dreaming a God-sized dream.
Many people have a purpose in life, but they are too small. Most have a purpose only for their personal possessions, prestige, and power. In other words, most people have an ego-driven purpose. To live a meaningful life, we must have a purpose above and beyond ourselves—or our ego.
Carl Jung, the famous psychologist, said over a third of his patients did not suffer from clinical neurosis but lack of meaning and purpose. Victor Frankl, the Jewish psychiatrist who survived the Auschwitz death camp, said that as soon as one of his fellow inmates lost their purpose, they died within a day or two.
Purpose makes us healthier and gives us meaning to live. Without purpose, we drift through life and become anxious. We are born with a dream; when we lose that dream, we lose our emotional well-being. Fulton Sheen called this “the anxiety of life.”
Victor Frankl also indicated that finding purpose leads to happiness. You can eliminate many health issues if you have a purpose. Based on Carl Jung, you could eliminate a third of your health problems.
How do you find your life purpose that is big enough to give you the vitality of life?
On the other hand, you don’t want to have an unreasonable purpose like a daydream. The Chinese call those with unpractical dreams “Dragonslayers.” It’s based on an ancient story about a young man who believes his life purpose is to hunt for dragons and slay them. It’s a metaphor for solving a problem that doesn’t exist—a vanity purpose.
A significant purpose tries to solve a problem that does exist.
The famous Canadian Psychologist, Jorden Peterson, wants to meet Elon Musk to determine why Musk is developing SpaceX. Peterson seems to feel that Musk is solving a problem that doesn’t exist. At least not yet. Do we really need to build habitats on Mars? It is a very costly endeavor. That money could have been better used to solve other immediate problems we are facing in this world. We know most of Musk’s projects do solve practical problems, but is SpaceX a dragonslayer’s dream? Only time will tell.
The point is we must have a purpose significant enough to live a meaningful and happier life. We are born to dream a God-sized dream. At the same time, we must not daydream like a dragonslayer to solve a problem that doesn’t exist.
The good news is that Jesus left us with a significant purpose to fulfill. He not only wipes away our past sins but also gives us a great purpose for the future. Previously, I’ve mentioned that Jesus has greatness thrust upon us. Today, we deal with Jesus’ last word, in which he spells out our enormous purpose, known as the Great Commission.
His purpose is also practical because it solves a clear and present danger in our world.
Most importantly, his purpose gives us meaning to live a happy and fruitful life. Let’s take a look at it today.
[Hi, in case we haven’t met yet, I am Sam Stone, the Lightkeeper—you are the light of the world, and I am the keeper! (No pun intended). It’s my calling to help you shine your brightest so that God is glorified in you and you are satisfied in God.]
The Scripture lesson for today, the Trinity Sunday, is from the Gospel According to Matthew 28:16-20. [Listen to the Word of the Lord!]
Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Mt 28:16–20).
[Blessed are those who delight in God’s word. Thanks be to God!]
This passage is known as the Great Commission. I’d like to call it the Great Purpose or the God-sized dream. In his last word after the resurrection, Jesus handover his greatest dream to solve the human problem. It’s a significant and practical purpose to solve a clear and present danger because, without him, people are like sheep without a shepherd, sitting meatloaves for the predators.
The context is that, after his resurrection, he sent a message to his disciples to meet him in Galilee. The crucifixion and resurrection happened in Jerusalem, and the authority was trying to hunt the disciples down, accusing them of stealing Jesus’ body and manufacturing the resurrection. The purpose was to silence them. So, it’s safer to meet them away from Jerusalem. The Bible says,
“When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.” (Mat 28:17).
One of the reasons I believe the Bible is true is because of the phrases like this, “some doubted.” If the Bible were made up, the writer would have hidden these phrases to paint a rosy picture. As you see, all the good, the bad, and the ugly appear in the Bible. It shows people in the first century were reasonable people. Resurrection is not something easy to believe.
God’s coming to earth is inconceivable now, as well as then. Doubt is a human defense system against deception and betrayal. So, it’s natural to doubt. Even though we cannot eliminate doubt, we can suspend doubt until we prove our suspicion—giving someone the benefit of the doubt—assuming innocent before proven guilty. The downside of doubt is that it could cripple our success. James said,
The doubter, being double-minded and unstable in every way, must not expect to receive anything from the Lord. (James 1:8).
Doubt can make our steps unstable. God doesn’t like doubters, especially when it comes to our relationship with Him. Instability is like a lukewarm faith, and God doesn’t answer their prayers. As a result, we don’t see many doubters succeed in life because of their hesitancy.
The way to overcome doubt is to commit. If you continue to doubt even though your suspicion is unproven, then your doubt is undue. William H. Murrey said beautifully about the power of commitment,
“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans. That the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves, too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred.” ~William H. Murrey.
To fulfill your greater purpose, you must first eliminate doubt.
Now Jesus gave the Great Commission to those who believe.
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. (Mat 28:18).
You might find this statement a little confusing because it needs to be put in the context of the first century Israel. Because Israel was under the Roman Empire, the king of Israel must go to Rome to receive permission to be the ruler of Israel. On that trip, other people could also go to Rome and speak against him. If no Israelites renounced him, the Emperor assumed he was qualified to be the king of Israel and gave him the authority.
Jesus put his situation into the contemporary context to help people understand his accomplishments during the three days between the crucifixion and resurrection. In other words, God had crowned him the King of the Kingdom of Heaven because Jesus had proven his love for the world on the cross. The devil failed to convince God against crowning Jesus.
That’s why he said God had given him all authority in heaven and on earth. His word is God’s word; his decision is God’s decision; and his purpose is God’s purpose. He wanted the people to understand that he and God are now equal. Now, he delivered the Great Commission.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, (Mat 28:19).
The word “therefore” here is profound. It could mean Jesus’ authority allows him to give us this commission. It could also mean he has handover his authority for us to make disciples of all nations. Because of his authority, we can now dream big. He is backing us to change the world. It also implies, because of this authority, we must not dream small.
Then he says we are given the franchise to baptize people the new disciples “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” That is the first time Jesus used the trinitarian language of “the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” It indicates that not only is he equal to God, but the Holy Spirit is also equal to God.
Baptism represents reconciliation with the Father through the grace of the Son and the companionship of the Holy Spirit. Reconciliation with God and the forgiveness of Jesus are not complete. Last week we talked about the importance of walking with the Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit brings us into oneness with God and Christ. That’s Jesus’ ultimate dream.
This commission is important only if you see how people are hurting. You must understand the suffering of this fallen world, how people are like sheep without a shepherd, and how blessed you are to have Jesus as the Good Sheperd. When you see that, you are proud to be part of this profound and practical purpose.
The last verse says,
“and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Mat 28:20).
What has Jesus commanded us? We have covered this in the past. Everything he commended us is summarized to “love God and love people,” nothing more and nothing less. His yoke is easy. All we need to do is to teach people how to love God and love people.
As we fulfill this great purpose, we will experience his presence with us to the end of the age. His presence also represents the presence of his power and authority. In other words, if you want to see God, do a God-sized dream. It’s described in William H. Murrey’s quote above,
“That the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves, too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred.” ~William H. Murrey.
Providence means God’s provision. When capitalized, it is another word for God. When you commit to a God-sized dream, Providence shows up. All kinds of help appear that would never otherwise have occurred. In other words, we don’t see God because we are not committed to a God-sized dream. In that case, God would not show up because we don’t need God.
Now, Zhuangzi’s strange story, as I mentioned in the beginning, provides us with a good metaphor for this reality.
“When it rises in the air, its wings are like the clouds of Heaven. When the seas move, this bird too travels to the south darkness, the darkness known as the Pool of Heaven.” ~Zhuangzi (Chuang Tzu).
When this big bird with a wingspan of thousands of miles rises in the air, the seas move to support the bird on its journey to the Pool of Heaven. It illustrates that a Providence will show up to support you when you commit to flying high and far and taking a God-sized journey. The word “darkness” here means being deep and wide. It represents eternity—the Pool of Heaven.
When we put this passage in the context of Jesus’ entire teaching, he indicates that we are created in God’s image to fulfill a God-sized dream. He said that we are the light of the world, meaning we are created for a God-sized dream to enlighten the world, and that we must not hide our lights.
If we hide our lights, we will never find meaning and happiness because we are created that way. The moment we start shining, God will show up to fuel our beams.
The best way to experience this truth is to try it out and see miracles happen in your life.
That’s it for today. I hope you find this message illuminating as much as I enjoy receiving it from the Head Office. Until we meet again, keep your light shining brighter and broader, and harvest the fruit of profound freedom, purpose, and happiness.