Finding Purpose in 2024


There is a Japanese concept known at Ikigai which means “reason for being.” The French call this “raison d’etre” or the reason or meaning for someone’s existence. 

There’s not a strong Christian equivalent. We talk about God’s will for our lives. But that’s not laying out a plan. God’s will for us is to be made perfect in love. And while there is a method to do that…it doesn’t always speak to the question of purpose. Or vocation. Purpose and vocation can overlap but they aren’t always the same thing. 

Achieving Flow 

I believe that our purpose can shift and is fluid over time. For many years the scripture in Esther has stuck with me…

“For if you keep silence at such a time as this, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another quarter, but you and your father’s family will perish. Who knows? Perhaps you have come to royal dignity for just such a time as this.””

I would be working and achieve that sense of flow and think “perhaps I was created for such a time as this.” And perhaps I was, but I’ve been at that place more than once. I honestly think that our purpose is less about what we do and more about who we follow. Following God narrows down what I do but it also expands what I do eternally. It gives me a framework for life and it allows me to be who God created me to be in each season instead of doing one thing in perpetuity. 

My Ikigai is to follow God and reflect God in my profession, mission, vocation, and passion. The world needs me to follow God and I love it. That is my reason for being. That is my purpose. And I believe it is yours too. 


Until Everyone Hears, 


  1. Beth Kottemann

    Hi Pastor Shannon, I am a retired UM Elder (as of July 2020) and I watched your service from Dec. 31 today on youtube. I was a member of Trinity from August 1983 through 1988. I now live in Hornell NY, moving north to serve in Western NY in June 1998. I received my MDiv from Candler School of Theology, Emory U in May 1998. It was awesome to see Betty Crane, Mark and Elaine Lockwood and others in the choir! I am thrilled that a female clergy has finally been appointed to Trinity after all these years! God bless you and I will be praying for you. Please give me regards to them.

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