The Garden is a prayer ministry that gathers together on Saturday Evening to wrestle with the Scriptures, to pray, and to spend time in silence and meditation. During this evening of the Garden, Fr. Vijay Thomas tackled the topic of purpose. If you are struggling to find direction or feel empty despite the success or pursuits of success, then take a moment to listen.
Special Thanks to "TheSkitGuys.com" for their amazing video and continued ministry. https://youtu.be/3QCkBL2DfVg
so as we are going to cover a topic all when he created me and when say when he created me we are it's a it's a phrase that came into my head at the beginning of the Great Lent when he created me and what does this mean what does it mean when he created me well who are we talking about when we say when he created me so when he created me who's he who is God so we know that he is god and created what does it mean to create has anyone ever built anything what have you built you built a lego set from ok that's very good yeah yes we're gonna get to that of gin hold on what else did you build someone else build something anything recently nothing no one's built anything you built a model ship what was the purpose of the building the model ship ok to get the dissatisfaction to having a ship anyone build uh anyone ever put a desk together right kids needed a desk to study on so you built the desk so you put it together so there was a purpose for the desk right what's the purpose of building that desk any purpose what is it what the purpose of building a desk to use it is for what for studying for for something what else can we build something for to build to to have when we create something there is this need for a purpose now Roshan gave us many examples of things that did not need a purpose but you had a purpose your purpose is for your enjoyment to build them and to enjoy building them right but there are things that we build every day put together we build meals every night and put all to this different ingredients together and build a meal why so we can eat now you know for my own experience being in construction I build things all the time there's a purpose for each of these things so when we come to this phrase when he created me we have this idea that when he the word created has this idea of purpose so tonight we're going to try to answer a very difficult question we're going to try to look at why did he create me he had one when we create something there is a purpose for us to could be created when we create something when we build the desk there's a purpose for it so when God built us what was our purpose now when it comes to the understanding purpose this is one of the hardest questions right what is the purpose of life now I am NOT going to assume that I think that we will be able to answer that question tonight but we're going to start to look at it and think about it and when you think about purpose there's something else related purpose has an aim what is the aim of what you're trying to do say you have three pieces of wood and you're going to try to build a desk from that but somehow when you build the desk it's a terrible desk were you did you fulfill your purpose in building that desk no so purpose also has a relation to success so what is success how do we define success success is known as the accomplishment of an aim or purpose the attainment of popularity or profit a person or thing that achieves is a desired aim and attains prosperity so what does it mean to be successful what are some good ideas of success whoa making your parents proud so what makes your parents proud good grades good grades that work for you girls yes that's successful right what else is successful getting a job and if you get a job you make money so money is success right yes no parents is that correct money is success and so does money make you successful does having a big house make you successful because then if we say that success that are our goal our success is to make money then that means if our aim is to succeed and succeeding means making money then that means that our purpose is 12 to 1 to make money huh that makes sense what makes you successful take a moment right now you have been a each given a card if you haven't given a car they can pass one to you the card on your card right down your definition of a success what is your personal definition of success right take a moment write down your definition of success it seems as if our community we often believe that success has something to do with our financial status how much money we make and one person within the Bible that had that same thought he could have been molly ollie was st. Matthew st. Matthew right st. Matthew was wealthy he was successful in what we with what they modern or even need him back then he was considered successful because he was wealthy and so how did he become wealthy well one thing is st. Matthew is he has a different name in different Gospels his name is Matthew he's also called something else anyone know Levi Levi very good so Levi and Matthew now he is born faithful what that means is he is born in the Jewish community he is he's not someone that's outside he is part of the community he probably was just like any Jewish person he was circumcised he was taking to the temple he gave all and did what was necessary for the law he was born faithful but when he was at some point in his life he was given the opportunity to become a tax collector now what is the modern-day equivalent of a tax collector anyone know the IRS see now the IRS we ended the tax day is coming so we all have an idea of the IRS but the tax collector back then with something even worse than the IRS let me explain you have these great empires so imagine New Jersey no let's say New York came over and took charge of New Jersey and then New York wanted to they needed to get tax money now someone from New York couldn't just know everyone in the community they'll be outside they wouldn't know how much money this person makes they wouldn't people could lie to that person so what they did in those olden days was that they chose one person from among the community to become the tax collector that means that imagine one of us was to get asked by the government you are going to be the tax collector that puts you as the top man everyone has to listen to you so when you are that in high position it's hard for people to like you but what's worse this person's job was to know how much money you made how much crops you had and to take money from you for the government so the way these tax collectors gain more and more money was that they were told take ten percent and give that to the government they would take thirteen percent and keep the three percent for themselves or if you they didn't like you they can take twenty percent and make and and not that you can't do anything you can't say oh you only took ten percent of him you're taking twenty percent for me you have to listen to the tax collector so a tax collector was literally a person who betrayed the community no one liked the tax collectors so much show that in the temple they said tots that in the the Jewish authorities would say tax collectors were sinners so they were kind of shunned once you became a class collector you'd be wealthy but no one would like you so that people saw Matthew st. Matthew as a traitor they saw him as someone who was not liked but he was successful when there was no rain that year and the crops were very little everyone would be starving except for who Matthew so from a kerala molly ollie again brainy actually of human standpoint I'm not saying it's a only us but it's this idea that we want to have a job in which we take care of our family that we have food on the table and now no matter what happens no matter what anyone else is going through Matthew is so wealthy that he has no worries now we know the story of Matthew the story of Matthew happens in the gospel of in it and the gospel that he wrote which is st. Matthew chapter 9 and when we read this passage we learn a little bit about Matthew so let me read it and as I read it I want you to take note and think about what is being said here as Jesus went on from there he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collectors booth follow me he told him and Matthew got up and followed him while Jesus was having dinner at Matthews house many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples when the Pharisee saw this they asked his disciples why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners on hearing this jesus said it is not their wealthy the healthy who need a doctor but the sick but go and learn what this means I desire mercy not sacrifice for I have not come to call the righteous but sinners now this passage is a very beautiful passage and it has so much good things in it let's look at the first part of it Jesus is walking and it looks like he comes he's near the tax collector booth Matthew is sitting at the tax collector booth so we know where he they're probably in kind of like a marketplace ok so imagine a marketplace and there is the tax collector booth and jesus walks by it says he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tack photo booth and what Jesus says is follow me and Matthew got up and followed him how this is a very I don't know if this would ever happen to any of us someone comes to us and says follow me would we follow now Matthew doesn't only follow Jesus that evening when they're having dinner Matthew it says calls many tax collectors and sinners and they have a big feast at Matthews house you know this is called a party basically Matthew is so happy that he met Jesus Christ that he throws a party how many of us would throw a party for Jesus and invite all of our friends Matthew is so impressed that he calls all the other tax collectors he calls everyone he knows and says you have to meet this guy he is that excited and then we see the Pharisees scolding the disciples saying why is your teacher eating with these sinners and then that final part Jesus reprimanding and saying a very important phrase but before we get to that this command follow me why did these words cause Matthew to completely change his life think about it two words follow me and Matthew completely changes everything I have a theory now this theory isn't proved there's any you you can have your own theory there's nothing in the Bible or the church the fathers that say what exactly happened why was Matthew just automatically following Jesus by the command follow me I believe that Jesus knows the heart of men right when Jesus walking through I think he can he knows what you're going through he knows what is going on in your head what you're thinking about and Jesus is walking through that marketplace and he knew the heart of Matthew was ready was ready to hear the words follow me because Matthew and this is what I'm thinking was not satisfied with his life Matthew was wealthy he had aim for success and he was successful and once he was successful he realized that being successful doesn't feel successful it doesn't feel as if he is accomplishing the purpose that he was created for maybe it was that Matthew started to think and ask himself why did God create me when he created me did he create me to be a tax collector did he create me just to make this money and sit and enjoy or is there something more Matthew wasn't satisfied he wanted something more he wanted something else so when Jesus says follow me it was the invitation to something different to something new a journey for something greater God created Matthew for something great and Matthew left his wealth and everything to follow Jesus to think about that scene matthew is sitting there doing the tax collector so probably at that moment he was making money right someone was paying their taxes and Matthew should have been paying attention to what was happening in front of him the month person paying money and there must have been many much noise around him because it was probably the marketplace a lot of people are talking and all of a sudden this two words come out of nowhere follow me and Matthew hears it this is a picture of a Clark Kent becoming Superman and that's how Matthew changed one moment he was just a tax collector a sinner and then he becomes a disciple of Jesus Christ how does he realize God's calling how does he change his life see Matthew was successful in the world wearing the suit of the of the world saying that he was a successful person but he changed somehow and if we think about it was Matthew more successful when he was a tax collector or more successful as a disciple of Jesus Christ a disciple of Jesus Christ do you know any other tax collectors that have written a book that has changed the world st. Matthew has written the Gospel of Matthew the first book of the New Testament the New Testament the Bible is the most widely printed widely read of all time so st. Matthew that day was offered the opportunity to change the world but he was successful but he found even greater success Matthew dies in Ethiopia according to the church tradition he was martyred was that success or not success how did a man who is a tax collector making so much money enjoying life go give up all of that wealth and follow Jesus not knowing when the bread tomorrow is coming not knowing where the next paycheck is coming and so much so that he dies for that how does Matthew change how does he realize God's calling this is important questions because we need to ask answer that question ourselves how do we change how do we become better I think the reason why Matthew was able to hear the words follow me in the temple when on the temple but follow me when Jesus in the marketplace when jesus walks by and says follow me I think the reason why Matthew was able to hear Jesus was because of a story that we all know it's a parable a parable that Jesus Christ told the parable is only recorded in the Gospel of Luke for some reason Matthew didn't record the same terrible and I think it's because the parable related to Matthew do you know what that parable is st. Luke chapter 18 two men went up to the temple to pray one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector affairs he stood and prayed thus with himself god I thank you that I am not like other men extortioners unjust adulterers or even as this tax collector I fast twice a week I give tithes of all that I possess and the tax collector standing far off when not so much has raised his eyes to heaven but beat his breast saying God be merciful to me a sinner I tell you this man went down to his house justified rather than the other for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled and He Who humbles himself will be exalted Jesus is telling a parable a story of two men one a Pharisee and one a tax collector and maybe that tax collector is Matthew and maybe Matthew was going to the temple every day because he was not satisfied with the wealth of the world he wanted the more than that he wanted to know what God had called him for so Matthew would go every day to the temple and and just pray and pray God be merciful to me a sinner and praying every day over and over and over again allowed Matthew allowed Matthew to hear when God finally said follow me if we are walking away from God we won't hear those words follow me we'll be too concerned to take the money of the tax collector table will be too concerned with the noise that is around us we won't hear anything other we won't hear God's voice in all of the the noise of the world but if we repent if we turn to God every day asking God God have mercy on me God have mercy on me coming to God in prayer daily will be ready our ears will be opened and attuned to hear when he calls us when he talks to us when he directs when I was and I probably you probably heard this story or a story like this that I've said before but there was a point where I felt as if I was in Matthews position I graduated from college I made it was making a lot of money working in New York City and working non-stop every day because the dollar was important and so working 60 hours 70 hours 80 hours but enjoying it and when working in manhattan it was a good life a fun life a tough life but that was my purpose to make money one day at 7am can't coming into work I see my supervisor walking in and what is he doing he's smiling and why is he smiling because he saw his son that morning it's boss why are you smiling huh I finally saw my son this morning what do you mean oh you he got up at three or four a.m. before I left because he had to go to the bathroom because I've been working from because he works with me and we work all the way from 7am to you know eight nine o'clock and come late and he probably had never not seen his son for months and so those that smile that I saw in his face and that conversation left an impression on me and it made me think over and over and over again what am i doing because my supervisor I am working so much because my purpose is to make money and to become like him so do I want to become like him do I want to never see my children and never see my wife and never enjoy life other than just working on these things or is there something more for me to do and so what I decided to do at that time was I felt that word that phrase when he created me came into my heart why did God create me what is the purpose that God created me for so I spent and this was at the beginning of the lens so many years ago then this happened I decided that I needed to get closer to God so taking the bus from freehold New Jersey all the way to Manhattan every day i created a regiment where i would I brought I bought an orthodox Study Bible and every day I read that Bible the two hours to work and the two hours back from work and my goal was to finish that Bible I finished it in a year didn't know on the bus subject okay i'm on the bus yeah i'm on the bus from New freely ass sadly very difficult if I was driving don't do that don't read and drive at the same time so when I did that what i would do also was i would get to my workplace and right outside the door there was a little park and i sat at that park every morning once i got off the bus and at the back of the Orthodox Study Bible was the English calma and a couple other morning and evening prayers and so every morning I would read those prayers and I would just pray that over and over again and over that year that's how God changed my heart and called me and said hey I want you to go study more about me and that that small step of going to God in prayer every day allowed me to open up my heart and to create a new path to follow a path that he created and I believe he has guided me on ever since now all of us aren't called to be priests but all of us are called to do great things because when he created me he created me for a purpose there is a passage in Ephesians chapter 2 10 at this passage I want you to know this because this is one of the most beautiful passages versus I've ever read for we are God's handiwork created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do you are God's handiwork that means God created you for what to do great things he that he has prepared he has called you to do so what are we called to do Ephesians 2 10 says that we are God's workmanship his masterpiece I don't know about you but when I get up in the morning and look in the mirror I don't really see a masterpiece you know I mean maybe a Picasso it's like but I want to be his masterpiece I want to be everything he created me to be and so I go to him in prayer and I say dear Heavenly Father do whatever it takes to mold me into the image of your son make me your masterpiece Jesus name I pray amen hi whoa who are you I'm God you said the prayer so here I am you're not God no I am who said the prints how it works okay okay if your God then make it snow in here you know what I really don't want to make it snow in here cuz it get kind of yucky yeah you're not God why do you say that God wouldn't say yucky I do it's a Greek word oh ok ok um if your God what is lamentations 15-9 say lamentations is only five chapters it's a very short book huh why was it so short I was tired of lamenting oh ok ok if your God who's gonna win the World Series this year I'm really not to playing games why are you so much into playing games you are God well gave it away you answered my question with a question I did yeah I do that don't I I did it again step right up here we go okay all right hey what are we doing I'm gonna make it in my rage of a masterpiece this is the process okay got it yeah we wait what are these about these are the tools i'm gonna use to make you into my original masterpiece okay hang on yeah I thought you were a carpenter that's my son step right up here we go okay oh my god how do you know what to chisel away and what to leave I take out everything your life that doesn't belong there kind of like dead weight ooh speaking of dead weight could you chisel right here it showed up when I was in my 20s and grew around at the King back fat I don't even know why you created that but I can't get rid of it I mean I've tried everything like I tried running I tried lifting weights my wife actually talked me into trying Pilates that was awkward but I can't get rid of it so if you would just chisel around here and then you know what if you chisel a line right here and maybe Ford maybe eight lines right here that would be awesome you're funny you made me that way I also made the Platypus with the focus all I'm saying is most of my children when it comes to this process they just want to talk but they don't want to do the work so do you want to talk or can I chisel top chisel no no no no no I choose the chisel all right through my Holy Spirit I'm gonna bring up things in your life that I want you to work on like your anger i created the emotion but you use it in the wrong way um compare yourself to others instead of me you tell little white lies because you want two people please you're lazy but you try to fool everybody by looking really really busy you have a problem with Russell time out I don't really have a problem with love you don't have a problem with lust no I can do it anytime I want hang on a second I mean I got to admit I feel like you've been doing some great work and I'm looking pretty good right now all right when you look in the mirror who do you see I see me okay then I need to keep chiseling away because ultimately you and other people need to see my son okay don't misunderstand me it's just um when I look more like Jesus people get uncomfortable around me I mean even my church friends and they're like oh your holier-than-thou you know and I don't think I'm supposed to make people uncomfortable so what you're saying is you'd rather play God in certain areas of your life than for me to be got over your whole life that is not what i said it's what you meant yes it is um it's hard to talk to you you know everything that I'm thinking I'm just saying you've done some great work maybe we take a break a sabbatical from each other you know I'll stay right here and then it's just that you never just stay right there you're either moving toward me or away from me but never you just stay what you're doing is called control do you want to control things our life for can I chisel control chisel control shizzle dizzle all right but can we chisel where I would that's called control okay I'm sorry now this right here this secrets in that you keep running to whenever you're hurting angry lonely tired that you think you're fooling everybody but it's making you a whitewashed tomb are you ready for me to chisel this out of your life yeah see it's a process it's not a sprint it's a marathon at your whole life and you care so deeply about what other people think of you it's rubbish it's garbage the greatest thing you're ever gonna hear is at the end of your life when you hear me say well done good and faithful servant that's what you keep your eye on that's the prize heavenward well if it hurts Oh trust me this hurts me more than it hurts you right okay I'm sorry just I don't think you understand this pain pardon me you're asking me to sacrifice a lot God don't talk to me about sacrifice I know all about sacrifice i sent my son to die on the cross for pain for sin but i also did it for another reason to give you freedom do you know what insanity is insanity is doing the same thing over and over and over again expecting different results and there are things that you've been doing for years these empty wells that don't have anything to offer you've been going to them and it's insane allow me to chisel them out of your life I'm allow me to produce character will you keep focusing so much on your image okay but i was thinking your thoughts are not my thumb okay but if we want another way your ways are no no I can't you can't want I can't be good that's your excuse that's your excuses that you can't be good it's not an excuse I can't oh my child in the beginning I said it was good I made you good be good yeah but you and I both won nothing no what is it nothing okay you wouldn't understand I got of all the universe wouldn't understand something one of my children has to say try me its just oh I let you down so many times God no my child you were never holding me up I hold you up with my victorious righteous right hand never the other way around in this relationship I hold you up okay chisel away just just be prepared for what you're gonna find in there because I know who's inside there because I get up every morning and I look at him in the mirror and I hate who i see looks deep inside there this this this little kid who gets up every morning and dresses like an adult and I go out and I tried to do what I'm supposed to do but I can't okay I can't be who everybody else expects me to be god I can't even be who I want to be much less who you created me to be and so inside is the scared stupid little kid but you chisel away just be prepared you have listened to so many voices for far too long that we're not from me and you have totally bought into the lie haven't you you think your junk don't you when you lay your head down at night after you've done the dance to get the hug you think your junk listen to me I don't take time to make junk how can I show you that my love for you stretches as far as the east to the west that how can I show you that my love for you has no end I know reach your back pocket what reach your back pocket why are you arguing with me we turn back haha god yes I just meant god I'll do that right now you're just saying my name in vain come on it's it's a name it's a saying it's a name above all names it's more than a sane it's more than a name I want to teach you something about my name reached your back pocket gosh H you know what that is yeah I'd say it's a note I wrote it when i was in college how did you get this hello oh yeah go ahead read it I love Angie other side sorry dear God did I hear you right today did I hear you say that you love me even though you and I both know I messed up soon be tight did I hear you say you want to use P I feel so useless if you'll take me then use melee god I give you all that I am take me I love you god I love you too and I love you too much just to leave you where you're at this salvation that you hold I don't want it to be some sentimental bush or some head knowledge I want you to work it out in every detail of your life and when problems come and chaos happens don't look at that as a prison but look at it as a father discipline is child of father disciplines the ones he loves I know what it's gonna be tough yes but you bought him it'll I thinking everything was gonna be easy when you gave everything over to me there will be trouble in this world but they have good cheer I've overcome the world I want you to do something I want you to look out there and I want you to say Tommy is God's original masterpiece Tommy is God not the way you see yourself or you try so desperately for others to see you but maybe for the first time in your life the way I see you the way I created you Tommy is God's original masterpiece yes you are and so are you God doesn't make junk you are an original masterpiece one of the things from that video one of the great messages is this idea that God created us for a purpose and how much God loves us and God wants us to become better to be who he has created us to be in the passage that we read earlier st. Matthew chapter 9 of chapter 9 when the Pharisees had called the disciples and said why is your teacher eating with the sinners Jesus overheard and he said an amazing thing on hearing this jesus said it is not that healthy who need a doctor but the sick but go and learn what this means I desire mercy not sacrifice for I have not come to call the righteous but sinners what does this mean well first it means that we need to realize our own sickness we need to realize the things that need to change in our lives we need to realize that things that need to be chiseled out the dead weight the things that are not right in our lives if I think if I gain a hundred pounds and and are now unhealthy I can only correct that if I realize that my lifestyle is unhealthy in the same way our spiritual life we need to see our own sickness and we need to realize that we need the doctor who is Jesus Christ but in Jesus in this passage mentions a very peculiar verse he says but God but go and learn what this means I desire mercy not sacrifice what does this mean obviously God wants mercy more than just sacrificing he wants us to do though it's not just about the rules but it's about our heart but this phrase I desire mercy not sacrifice comes from the Old Testament Hosea chapter 6 verse 6 Jesus was quoting from the Old Testament and that Old Testament verses for I desire mercy not sacrifice and acknowledgement of God rather than burnt offerings now this is a great passage but you won't realize how great a passage it is if you don't read the first part of this chapter in the first part of this chapter the chapter that Jesus is quoting he says come let us return to the Lord he has torn us to pieces but he will heal us he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds after two days he will revive us and on the third day he will restore us that we may live in his presence do you realize how beautiful this passages Hosea chapter six Jesus Christ is standing before the Pharisees who are questioning him and Jesus quotes from this chapter and in this chapter is the prophecy of Jesus Christ the prophecy that says after two days he will relies on the third day he will restore us on the third day through the resurrection he will restore us there is two things that are so amazing about this passage I love like a mechanic taking apart a car to make the car more efficient and better God tears us to pieces but he will heal us just didn't like that the video that we just saw God chisels us he breaks us apart so that he can mold us make us into what he has called us to be so every trial in every tribulation every trouble everything that we go through we have to realize that God is working on us and we have to return to the Lord in order for us to be healed the second image that I see in this passage is when Jesus died on the cross when Jesus died on the cross it says we were the ones that needed saving he's torn us to pieces and he will heal us he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds after two days he will revive us and on the third day he will restore us so when Jesus Christ was on that cross it wasn't only him who resurrected it was him bringing all of us with him Jesus died for those Jesus died but we were the ones who were dying so we have to come to God at this time during especially the end of this length and the beginning of and remember how much God has given us how much God has done for us and how much God has called us and created us to be good so during this time just like st. Matthew we need to come to God saying over and over again every day God have mercy on me God have mercy on me and in that saying returning to the Lord he will heal ins he will speak to us he will guide us he will mold us he will make us I want you at this time to take some of time to write on that paper that's for you write down finish that statement when he created me what did he create you for write down the things in your life that need to be chiseled out those things that need to be taken out of your life and also write down a good habit that you need to start every day maybe reading the Bible maybe saying a certain prayer think about these things as we go to the closing of this night with the meditation and prayer