John McCracken - Didsbury II Convention - Wednesday Evening, July 18, 2007

1964 – there’s a little tent here where I professed at Didsbury, and I’m thankful for that.  It’s good to be here again.  In Hong Kong where we labour, I used to ask the people, “Do you ever think of the purpose of life?”  They look at me blankly and say, “No, I’ve never thought about that.”  I’ve learned not to ask that question.  They just don’t think about the purpose of life there, but God is going to remind us again what the purpose of life is here at this convention.


I’m going to speak about some of the things God would like to help us to know the purpose of life.


One thing He wants us to know is to simplify our life. At Bowsman convention, we heard about a servant of God, Maurice Fife.  His memory was gone.  When he was asked about the year, about the country he was in, about the day, and other things, his reply was he didn’t know, but does it matter?  He was asked, “What does matter?” and his reply was, “Salvation matters.”  Life becomes very simple when you have a single purpose.


Another thing we will be reminded of to help us in our purpose is “Get God in His right place.”  Where I labour, there is a gradual shift in the way people think about work. Australia is shifting more and more towards China. At one time, their loyalty was with United States but now the economy has shifted to China and the United States is gradually becoming less and less important and the shift is towards the importance of China.  This is true spiritually – things little by little become important, but here at convention God would like to get back in first place. 

Third, our vows are stirred at convention.  Just as concrete and rebar go together, vows are two-sided.  One part is the vow, and the second part is the payment of the vow.  When there is no rebar in the concrete, it is not very safe.  It may be okay for a time, but if a storm comes up, it will collapse.  This is like people that vow and never do; if we don’t pay our vows, there’s no stability.  Vows are a debt we owe to God.  Payment of our vows is when we are out of debt, but we can be connected to old vows and maybe to new ones.   God wants and requires that we pay our vows. 

The fourth thing to help our purpose is God wants us to go deeper. Purpose is strengthened by depth.  At another convention we were thrilled by the participation of the young people and especially the children.  The first little lad to pray wasn’t as tall as the bench and we couldn’t even see him standing, but his prayer was so deep.  There was real depth to his prayer.  Some people pray the same prayer every time.  When I was growing up, there was a young lady in the meeting who prayed the same prayer – and it was a long prayer – and we could memorize that prayer. The only thing that differed was the ending.  She had two different endings.  Some years later I was in meeting with her and now her prayer had such depth.  I asked her how she had broken the habit and she replied that each week she would pray for two different things each time.  God wants to break the habit and share what is real and true from our own hearts.  He doesn’t want us just to repeat what someone else has already prayed or shared in the meeting.  That already was bread.  Go deeper, break the habit. 

The last thing that I thought about for me is that God would like to connect us with our ending.  It’s fine to have a good purpose, but the path we are on depends on whether our purpose for life is fulfilled. We cannot make new beginnings but we can make new endings.  Go deep.


Hymn 59 (1,2,4), "Come Unto Me"