Some people are driven by materialism—Their desire to acquire becomes the whole goal of their lives. This drive to always want more is based on the misconceptions that having more will make me “more happy,” more important and more secure—but all three ideas are untrue. Possessions only provide temporary happiness. Because things do not change we eventually become bored with them and then want a newer, bigger, better version.
Some people are driven by the need for approval—hey allow the expectations of parents or spouses or children or teachers or friends to control their lives. Many adults are still trying to earn the approval of unpleasable parents. Others are driven by peer pressure, always worried by what others might think. Unfortunately, those who follow the crowd usually get lost in it. I don’t know all the keys to success, but one key to failure is to try to please everyone. Being controlled by the opinions of others is a guaranteed way to miss God’s purposes for your life. Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters” (Matt. 6:24, NLT).
There are other forces that can drive people’s lives but all lead to the same dead end: unused potential, unnecessary stress and an unfulfilled life.
Understanding these forces will help you look beyond the actions that frustrate you to see the real need in these people’s lives. Many of the problems they face—and you will face as a church leader—are caused by people driven by the wrong things. We need to lovingly look past the problems and call each church member to reach the fullness for which God has shaped them.
As a pastor, one of the greatest gifts you can offer is showing people how to live lives guided, controlled and directed by God. Nothing matters more than knowing God’s purposes for your life, and nothing can compensate for not knowing them—not success, wealth, fame or pleasure.
Without a purpose, life is motion without meaning, activity without direction and events without reason. In the Bible, many different people expressed this hopelessness.
Isaiah complained, “I have labored to no purpose; I have spent my strength in vain and for nothing” (Isa. 49:4, NIV).
The greatest tragedy is not death, but life without purpose.