Weekly Impact is written for leaders by our former Executive Director, Garth Jestley, who has decades of experience in senior leadership roles in the financial services sector. Each week he will share insights on life, leadership and faith.
This series of posts explores the topic “knowing God” – what it is, what it is not, why it is important, how it is possible and why it is relevant to marketplace leaders in the twenty-first century.
THE NEED TO KNOW WHY I EXIST
“I found the purpose of my existence, and also the purpose of my circumstance. There’s a purpose for why you’re in the fire. If God can use a man without arms and legs to be His hands and feet, then He will certainly use any willing heart!” ~Nick Vujicic
[Life Without Limits: Inspiration of a Ridiculously Good Life (2010)]
“Bill, reading aloud about Socrates: ‘The only true knowledge is knowing that you know nothing.’ Ted, stunned: “Dude —That’s US!” ~Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure
Being no longer engaged in full-time organizational leadership, I have found more time to read. Of late, one of the books I have been reading is “Philosophy For Dummies®” by Tom Morris, Ph.D., from which I excerpted the foregoing quote from “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.” A dummies series book on this topic is about the right speed and I’m learning a lot!
Anyhow, one of the biggest questions addressed by philosophers for millennia is “Why am I here?” (synonymous with the question of my life’s purpose). At one time, I spent no time thinking about questions of this nature. I didn’t see the relevance and, in any case, was too busy pursuing success. Can you relate?
Since I was living as though God didn’t exist, it was only natural that, if pressed in respect of this question, I would have said either (i) I don’t have a clue (like Bill and Ted!), or (ii) I would have framed purpose in terms of self-generated goals – both professional and personal. For example, I might have defined my purpose as maximizing happiness in terms of accomplishments, possessions and pursuits.
Like most marketplace leaders, I had never asked why I exist. In essence, I was a functional atheist. As it happens, one of the entailments of atheistic materialism is the impossibility of answering this question in non-physical terms. To quote atheist Richard Dawkins, “DNA neither cares nor knows. DNA just is. And we dance to its music.” Notwithstanding my confidence in self determination, I felt a distinct unease – even dissatisfaction – with my existence. Is this all there is?
Logically, purpose requires a purpose giver who created the object/person for his purpose. Nick Vujicic, who was born without any arms or legs, looks to God as his external reference for purpose. And he is living with more energy, purpose and passion than most people! Animated by purpose, Nick brings to mind the best seller “The Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren, one of the most impactful books I have ever read.
When I encountered Jesus in my thirties, the question of purpose was satisfied in an instant. My life had objective meaning beyond myself. It was not a subjective matter based upon my feelings and preferences. Thus, knowing God, the theme of this series, became the primary relevant in my life.
Do you know why you’re here? As a follower of Jesus, I have concluded that purpose in life starts with knowing Him.
Next week, I will consider the need to be all that I can be.
Garth Jestley is a husband, father, grandfather, leader and business executive. Most importantly, he is a follower of Jesus Christ.