Mark Twain once said, “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” We are all searching for meaning and purpose in our lives. It’s only natural to hope that our lives have mattered in some way.

It seems to be especially important to those of us who have come to the end of one chapter of life and are entering a new one. Do you reflect? Do you look back? For me, the decades keep marching by and sometimes I wonder how I got to be this old! I used to think women of my current age were old ladies! Now, not so much! I think one of the reasons our eyesight begins to fail as we get older, is so that we won’t be able to accurately see our own reflections! That is until I discovered my new twelve-x magnifying mirror! Yikes! My face is starting to look like a Rand McNally road map!

As you look back, you may think that you’ve done it. It really all depends on your perspective. Some of you, if you’re like me, are finding new purpose and perhaps even a new career. You keep discovering new things about yourself and you are pursuing a new dream.

You could reach every one of your personal goals, becoming a huge success by the world’s standard, but still feel a restlessness as though there is something more.

I think one of the reasons we miss our purpose is because we have confused “performance” with “purpose.” Its something I have struggled with my entire life. I’m continually looking for affirmation based on how well I’m performing in order to feel good about myself. Sometimes I feel uneasy wondering if I’m doing enough to be worthy of God’s love. The truth is I will never be able to perform well enough to be worthy—no one ever could be. No matter how exemplary my performance may be, it will never be good enough.

God’s love is based on a totally separate reality. It is priceless, unconditional, and everlasting.

Jeremiah 31:3 says, “The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.”

I know you are probably very familiar with the story of Jesus’ two friends from Bethany, Mary, and Martha, the sisters of Lazarus. Their story is found in Luke 10: 38-42.

Martha was a hostess with the “mostest!” The Bible says that as Jesus and his disciples passed through her village of Bethany, she went out to invite him into her home and made him feel welcome. From that moment on, she went into full performance mode. There was a meal to be planned, table settings to be arranged and seating to be figured out. While Martha was very busy with all her preparations, Mary, her sweet sister, sat at Jesus’ feet and took in every word. She couldn’t get enough of all that Jesus was saying. No matter how many pots and pans Martha banged around in the kitchen it didn’t disturb Mary from intently listening and learning.

Well as time went on Martha was really working up a sweat! Not only was she working up a sweat, but she was also stewing something up in her heart. She was no longer focused on her meal plans but had begun to be resentful of her sister. How dare she just sit there when there was so much to get ready and so much to do! When she had quite enough and could take it no more she marched right in and interrupted Jesus to get his help. So she asked him what seemed like a perfectly logical question. I can just picture her, hair falling down in her face, little beads of sweat on her forehead as she began to speak. “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come help me.” Martha had another “P” word that was part of her problem, and she was more than willing to share it with her sister. Not only was she worried about her “performance,” but she was also a “perfectionist!” She must have expected Jesus to whip her sister into shape and get her moving.

But Jesus saw the bigger picture and called Martha out on it. The cool thing is that Jesus was still as loving and kind to Martha even as he corrected her thinking. Imagine her surprise as he looked lovingly into her eyes and said, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”

I wish I could say that I’m just like Mary, more interested in sitting at Jesus’ feet than hustling in the kitchen, but the truth is I’m a lot more like Martha. I’ve done my fair share of banging those pots and pans and wanting others to get off their backsides and help me! I’m just as interested as she was about the “performance” than being still and recognizing my “purpose.”

There is this show I sometimes like to watch called, “Say Yes to the Dress.” If you’ve ever seen it you know that the bride comes into this exclusive Bridal Gown shop in New York City with a group of family members and friends and then tries on dress after dress looking for THE DRESS OF HER DREAMS. When she finds it they always ask the question, “So, are you saying yes to the dress?” to which the teary-eyed bride answers “Yes, I’m saying yes to the dress!” I get choked up when the father of the bride tells the associate that he will spare no expense to purchase that dress. I get all teary-eyed too when it all comes together and you see the bride standing there in all her glory as they place the veil and the jewels on her head. It is magical! Then of course they all live happily ever after, right? I get all caught up in the variety of gowns and the desires of the bride, and sometimes the rather rude comments coming from her entourage. It’s sometimes can be high drama at its ugliest!! It doesn’t take much to keep me entertained.

The other day, I was reading in Isaiah and my eyes once again fell on this wonderful verse that describes the Dress of our Dreams.  “I am overwhelmed with joy in the Lord my God! For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness. I am like a bridegroom in his wedding suit or a bride with her jewels.” Isaiah 61:10

Our heavenly Father is just like that dad who tells the associate to spare no expense to find the perfect dress. Some of the price tags on those dresses are outrageously expensive. But the most expensive of all those dresses can’t compare to the priceless dress our Father has chosen for us. It cost him everything! It cost him the life of his only Son. All we have to do is say “Yes to the Dress!” There is nothing we can do to earn such luxury.

Here’s the deal with this whole business of being caught up with our performance rather than our purpose. We must realize that God loves us unconditionally, he has already given us a priceless dress, and it can’t be earned with our performance.

So back to Martha and Mary. Why did Jesus say that Mary had made the best choice? Was she able to see her mission and say “Yes, to her dress?” Where Martha was more concerned with the many details of feeding her guest and had lost sight of the guest himself, Mary’s desire was to be with Jesus. She paid attention to her guest and learned. She was perhaps the only person who understood and accepted Jesus’ coming death and took the time to anoint his body while he was still living. She had learned when to listen and when to act. Jesus said her act of worship would be remembered whenever the good news was preached. She didn’t let anyone else stand in the way of her obedient act of service.

Has the business of serving God become a barrier to knowing his purpose for your life or have you found it to be a joyous act of worship? Have you said “Yes,” to his perfectly designed dress? Put it on and delight in the comfort of its fit.