Our God-Given Right (Musing)

Musing yesterday about God-given rights.

My starting point in this musing as I ran down a Belfast bike trail yesterday afternoon, capitalising (yes, I’m using British spellings – when in Rome) on a window of not-rain between abnormally-hot and drizzle, was that we have a God-given right to purpose.

However, reflecting further, I don’t think I agree with that. It sounds good – that God has given us all a part to play, that He has given each of us intrinsic value and worth, that He gives each of us gifts/talents/experiences/insight that no one else has in their entirety. That we should all get to manifest some kind of contribution to a story larger than ourselves.

I don’t necessarily disagree with any of those statements. However, baked into that assertion (that we all have a God-given right to purpose) is an assumption that has imposed a strong and not-usually positive influence on my life and faith thus far.

What is the ultimate purpose of purpose? Underlying that belief about purpose is an assumption that suggests we were created first and foremost to do and not first to be.

“I didn’t want minions, Lauren.” That’s what I thought I heard from Jesus as I huffed down the trail thinking about this. Unlike so many other religions and cultural origin stories might suggest, God did not create humanity out of cosmic need for peons or slaves or even entertainment.

I believe God intentionally created us not to be creatures foremost endowed with purpose. What if we had a God-given right not to purpose, but ultimately to first be loved and then give love? The Bible paints this picture. My experience thus far paints this picture. Observing the world and where it is most beautiful and where it is most painful paints this picture.

If we believe that purpose (and people enacting their purposes) should ultimately result in a better, more tranquil, more fulfilled, more peaceful world, I think that maybe we all believe ultimately that love transcends purpose. Purpose is a means to an end.

And not everyone contributes meaningfully to that cause. Some don’t contribute anything at all, and some even frustrate or combat that goal. Yet God extends the invitation to be loved and then to give love to every single human. However evil-hearted, however apathetic, however incognisant, however incapable. (And I count myself amongst all of those.)

It is a God-given right to be loved and to give love. First. Only, sometimes. Purpose can come (and can only healthily come) from that later. That is a God-given right with which I can wholeheartedly agree.


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