A Higher Purpose

Navy Seals in Freefall

“There are two great moments in a person’s life: the moment you were born and the moment you realize why you were born.”[1]”

The Westminster Shorter Catechism begins with the question, “What is the chief end of man?” The answer, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.”

We were born to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever! Ironically, the more we try to make ourselves happy the unhappier we are! We find joy and true fulfillment when we live for a cause bigger than ourselves.

This is the key to true joy, meaning, and fulfillment in life!

Our Lord said the greatest commandment is to love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength (Mark 12:30) then He said, the second greatest commandment was to love our neighbor as ourselves! These two commandments are the key to true joy, meaning, and fulfillment in life! To help remember this, you could think of the word, “joy” as three words: “Jesus,” “Others,” and “You”! To know true joy, in order of priority we must think of Jesus first, then others, and then ourselves.

We rightfully pray for and support our military. Whether our troops are moving supplies to support the battle, or belong to our special forces, we owe them and the work they do our highest respect. Since 9/11 the most iconic unit of our special forces is our Navy SEALs. They prefer to work in the shadows and be given no recognition. They choose meaning over happiness. They condition themselves to be uncomfortable so they can accomplish any mission.

In an article in The Wall Street Journal, Eric Greitens, a former Navy SEAL, opened up and described the one quality that makes for a successful SEAL—the ability to think about other people and a higher purpose. Here’s an excerpt from his article:

The rigors that SEALs go through begin on the day they walk into Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training in Coronado, Calif., universally recognized as the hardest military training in the world. BUD/S lasts a grueling six months. The classes include large contingents of high-school and college track and football stars, national-champion swimmers, and top-ranked wrestlers and boxers, but only 10-20 percent of the men who begin BUD/S usually manage to finish.

What kind of man makes it through Hell Week? That’s hard to say. But I do know—generally—who won’t make it. There are a dozen types that fail: the weight-lifting meatheads who think that the size of their biceps is an indication of their strength … the preening leaders who don’t want to get dirty, and the look-at-me former athletes who have always been told they are stars…. In short, those who fail are the ones who focus on show.

Some men who seemed impossibly weak at the beginning of SEAL training—men who puked on runs and had trouble with pull-ups—made it. Some men who were skinny and short and whose teeth chattered just looking at the ocean also made it. Some men who were visibly afraid, sometimes to the point of shaking, made it too.

“They…had a heart large enough to think about others, to dedicate themselves to a higher purpose.”

Almost all the men who survived possessed one common quality. Even in great pain, faced with the test of their lives, they had the ability to step outside of their own pain, put aside their own fear and ask: How can I help the guy next to me? They had more than the “fist” of courage and physical strength. They also had a heart large enough to think about others, to dedicate themselves to a higher purpose.[2]

That’s the secret! We were born for a higher purpose than the shallow, self-centered satisfaction we naturally seek. Oh, that we who follow the Lord Jesus Christ would have the same desire to “think about others and dedicate [ourselves] to a higher purpose.”

Christ is calling us to a “higher purpose.” Don’t settle for less.







[1] Pastor Kirbyjon Caldwell at a Willow Creek Leadership Conference Willow Creek Leadership Conference (August 2002).
[2] Eric Greitens, “The SEAL Sensibility,” The Wall Street Journal, May 7, 2011.

Image of Navy Seals Courtesy of http://www.americanspecialops.com/photos/navy-seals/navy-seals-parachute-jump.php

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