"Who raised up one from the east [and] in righteousness called him to his feet...made him rule over kings? Who has performed and done it calling the generations from the beginning? I, the Lord, am the first, and with the last, I am He" (Isaiah 41:1-4).

Clearly we are not on earth by accident and without an assignment to perform, and that constitutes our purpose for living. To be consumed with the erroneous notion that you become just as you choose and succeed as hard as you struggle is to miss the answer to the question most central to our existence: Why am I alive and where do I fit in?

From the passage above it is clear that our path has already been set before we were born (Jeremiah 1:5) and our purpose for living drawn out in every detail. It may be also worth knowing that "the battle is not to the strong and the race is not for the swift, nor riches to men of understanding nor favor to men of skill. But time and chance happen to them all" (Ecclesiastes 9:11).

The Truth of the matter is that we are assigned to an era to play one little part, and that is what counts. John Wycliffe could be called the beginning of an era. It was through the efforts of this dedicated Christian scholar, preacher and Bible translator that the Reformation got its start.

Recalling the life of Wycliffe, Charles R. Swindoll in his biography on David showed how he fit in to his era. Sometime before Wycliffe died in 1384 he was standing alone against verbal and physical attacks. He stayed at the task of translating both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible into the English vernacular…a project so unpopular it led to his martyrdom. Until Wycliffe's heroic work, the Scriptures were chained to ornate pulpits, written in Latin, a language only the clergy could read. While threats were being hurled against him for his defiance, Wycliffe finished his monumental task, then wrote these words in the flyleaf of his own translation of the Bible: "This Bible is translated and shall make possible a government of the people, by the people, and for the people."

Little did Wycliffe realize that almost 500 years later his words would be lifted from the pages of his Bible and immortalized by a president in the New World who would promise "a new birth of freedom" based on "a government of the people, by the people, and for the people." Less than a year and a half later, President Lincoln was killed. Among the hundreds who reported his death, one put his finger on the truth when he wrote, "The death of Lincoln marks the end of an era."

Some lives are so significant in courageous accomplishment, they form the beginning of an era. Others with their deaths, the end of an era. Their thinking, their creative ideas, their magnificent models, leave a veritable chasm across life's landscape. This person's shoes are so big that after his or her death nobody can fill them.

Every individual has a purpose for living - every one of us. Not many have as great a purpose as Wycliffe or Lincoln, but no one God brings to life on this earth is insignificant. The tragedy of all tragedies is that we should live and die having never found that purpose, that special, God-ordained reason for serving our generation.

You have, like no other person on this planet, particular contributions that you are to make to this generation. They may not be as great as your dreams or they might be far beyond your expectations; but whatever they are, you are to find them and carry them out. Then, when your twilight years come and your life is ended, you can be satisfied that you have served God's purpose with your life.

Written by Dr. T. Cyprian Kia on the 27th day of June, 1999 in Room 21, Makurdi Midway Hotel, Benue State, Nigeria

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