Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Power of Purpose

I've had two close friends and ministry colleagues pass away recently from diseases which they both endured for several years.  Both went through the difficult ordeal of hospitalization and then hospice.  I knew that hospice was usually the place patients went before they died but I didn't fully understand the significance and purpose of hospice.  I learned through my two friends ordeal that the purpose of a hospice is totally different from a hospital.  In a hospital the doctors and nurses naturally do every thing possible to keep patients alive and heal them. However, the purpose of a hospice is NOT to keep the patient alive but to prepare the patient for death and to make their last days as comfortable as possible.  

That purpose dictates what the treatment or lack of treatment is. The caretakers in a hospice will not be constantly monitoring the patient during the day and the middle of the night, waking them up, poking and prodding.  Medication and intravenous tubes are not necessary in a hospice except for that which eases the pain. Everything is done to make the patient's last days as pain free and comfortable as possible. And this is very difficult for a loved one to comprehend because the decision to take their loved one to a hospice is in effect saying that the end of life is very near and we have given up the goal of recovery, in essence pulling the life support from the patient.

It occurred to me that this was one of the most powerful examples of how purpose dictates what we do.  The rooms in a hospice and hospital look much the same but what happens in those rooms is the difference between life and death literally based on the purpose of those rooms.  

It is the same for any organization.  Having a stated purpose determines the actions of the members or the employees.  If there is no stated purpose, no overall vision to guide and direct the employees or members to pursue, then each person is left to discern what that purpose is and the actions and decisions can be considerably different from those which the organization desires.  When the employees embody the company's mission then every move is filtered through that stated purpose.

How we view our personal purpose in life also makes all the difference in the world how we live our lives.  Do I live for self or to a higher calling?  For both my friends, Steve Stoner and Teresa Devlin, their legacy is great and long lasting because their purpose in life was to live for Christ.   Many of your decisions will be drastically affected even to the point of life or death because of your purpose.  That is why it is so important to live for a purpose in life that is more than just living for self. And equally important is to teach your children to do so also.  It doesn't happen naturally.  You must intentionally work so that your purpose becomes integrated into your life, family, company and church. 

Do you have a personal mission or purpose statement?
Does my purpose reflect my relationship with Jesus Christ?
Can you quote a life verse from the Bible that guides your life?
Does your family have a mission statement?  Can your children quote it?  What do you do to instill that purpose into their lives?  Into your church or business?

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