Driving down the street in my bus one sunny afternoon a while back, I had a flash of insight that popped into my head, seemingly from out of nowhere. It was one of those moments of sudden revelation, like when you remember a person's name you haven't seen in 20 years, or figure out how to fix an appliance without reading the instructions. And the message was as clear and concise as a simple mathematical formula.
Everything I was looking at -- everything -- had a specific purpose and design.
The road on which I was driving had a purpose: To help vehicles get from one place to another with ease and optimal speed.
The vehicle I was driving had a purpose: To transport large numbers of passengers from one place to another in relative comfort and safety.
As my gaze shifted from one side of the road to the other, I saw many things: Telephone poles and mailboxes, fences and driveways, roofs and windows. Those things, and the countless others that I beheld, all had a purpose.
(Let me add, as an aside, that while I saw many things that were of the same kind, each was different in its own unique way. There were many different types and colors and descriptions of vehicles, and mailboxes, and houses. Each of those things, while created for the same purpose, had also been created a little differently than the others.)
I then began to focus on natural things. That blazing sphere in the sky had a purpose: To bring light and heat -- and life -- to a planet that would otherwise be dark, cold and dead. In the early morning sky the last few weeks I have seen Jupiter setting in the west. Did you know that even Jupiter has a purpose? One of the reasons Earth isn't constantly bombarded by asteroids and comets is that Jupiter sucks them up before they can get to us.
Trees and grass absorb carbon dioxide and give us oxygen in return. And, of course, there are some types of trees and grasses that we can eat.
And birds. Wow. Talk about things that are uniquely different. While they are an important and integral part of the earth's ecosystem, they also manage to be some of the most diverse organisms in existence. They come in every color of the rainbow. (And now that I think about it, some colors that aren't in the rainbow.) They come in wildly different sizes and shapes. And they can do things that don't seem physically possible. (I still haven't figured out how hummingbirds get across the Gulf of Mexico, but that's a discussion for another time.)
It's safe to say that, at any moment, regardless whether you are looking at something manmade, or an element of nature, what you are seeing has a distinct purpose. It may be designed in an artistic way, or for a purpose that you may not understand, but it still has a purpose.
And you have a purpose, as well.
"God made everything with a place and purpose..." – Proverbs 16:4 (MSG)
Doug Chastain is a retired teacher and large-vehicle transportation specialist for the Siloam Springs School District. (OK, he drives a bus.) He is also a grass maintenance technician at Camp Siloam. (Yeah, he mows the lawn.) You can contact him at [email protected].