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Affluent Christian Investor | September 19, 2017

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Purpose Is Not Enough

The Voyage of Life: Childhood (Painted by Thomas Cole) (1842)

The Voyage of Life: Childhood (Painted by Thomas Cole) (1842)

I find myself meeting with people every week to talk about life purpose.   am always thrilled when I see the concept of purpose break through in someone’s thinking. Furthermore, I have met with about 3,500 people one-on-one in the last 12 years to talk about purpose and it never gets old or dull. I am working on a way now to help you connect with me more effectively through the Internet, and I will have more on those developments in the coming weeks.

Last week, we started a series on the prophet Daniel, so you may want to go back and read that entry if you have not already. Daniel was a success both as a prophet as an administrator in Babylon not only because of his gift and anointing, but also because he was faithful:

“They could find no corruption in him [Daniel], because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent”

– (Daniel 6:4).

Daniel had skill but he also had integrity, and both go hand in hand if you are going to fulfill your God-given purpose.


Yet for all my emphasis and love of purpose, I find that many people make a crucial mistake in life, work and ministry. They believe the power of purpose or an idea is enough to insure success. If you are serving God, however, you cannot overlook faithfulness, sowing, service ,and heart attitude as important means through which you will succeed in your purpose.

There is one passage that Luke 16:10-12 that is critical to your life and ministry success:

“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?”

Here are some things to think about in regards to this passage:

  1. Are you faithful in little things?  This can include things like punctuality, follow-through on promises and all the other “little things” that can easily be overlooked. As “small” as they are, Jesus said they were important, because if you are dishonest with those little things, you will be the same with the more important things.
  2. Are you faithful with money? This would include giving something to the Lord’s work when you have the chance, paying your bills on time, paying back money you borrow from others, and being free from greed and theft.
  3. Can you handle someone else’s property as your own?  This includes being faithful with a business, church or opportunity that belongs to another. If you borrow something, you return it in better shape than you received it. If you quote someone, do you give them credit?


Yes, knowing your life purpose is critical, but so are integrity and stewardship. God is watching you and He does not bless and promote solely on the basis of potential or a good idea. God looks at the heart and He promotes anyone whose heart belongs to Him, which means those who will work and act like Jesus. You need purpose but it needs to partner with faithfulness if God is going to use you.

Maybe one day we will meet to talk about purpose, if we haven”t already. I hope that happens. Don’t be fooled, however, into thinking that purpose will guarantee your success. It’s an important step in the process, but you cannot ignore Jesus’ words in Luke 16 and expect to get very far in business or ministry.  God is watching, and you had better make sure that your character matches the size of your purpose vision. Where God is concerned, purpose just isn’t enough.


Originally posted on The Monday Memo.

John Stanko was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and attended Duquesne University where he received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in economics in 1972 and 1974 respectively.

Since then, John has served as an administrator, teacher, consultant, author, and pastor in his professional career. He holds a second master’s degree in pastoral ministries, and earned his Doctor of Ministry from Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Pittsburgh in 2011.

John founded a personal and leadership development company, called PurposeQuest, in 2001 and today travels the world to speak, consult and inspire leaders and people everywhere. From 2001-2008, he spent six months a year in Africa and still enjoys visiting and working on that continent, while teaching for Geneva College’s Masters of Organizational Leadership and the Center for Urban Biblical Ministry in his hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Most recently, John founded Urban Press, a publishing service designed to tell stories of the city, from the city and to the city.


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