We begin with the words of Mark Twain who said, “There are two great days in a person’s life - the day we are born and the day we discover why.”
One is easier than the other.
One is a date in time.
It’s October 4 or March 29 or February 12 or September 26.
It’s a moment you celebrate every year.
It’s the date when you made your first public appearance.
That date is easy.
The other one isn’t.
It’s probably not a literal date at all. It’s the moment you finally figured out why God put you on planet earth. It’s the reason you joined seven billion other people on this ball of dirt floating through space.
“There are two great days in a person’s life - the day we are born and the day we discover why.”
The first day explains your presence on earth.
The second explains your purpose.
Often it takes a long time to discover why you were born.
Sometimes it happens very suddenly.
On April 18 of this year, Sean Collier was assigned to a certain intersection on the campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston. Three days earlier, two bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring over 250 others. A massive manhunt put the whole city on a virtual lockdown. By Thursday evening, the authorities had tracked the bombers to the area around the MIT campus. Police believe that sometime after 10 PM the bombers crept up on Sean Collier’s patrol car, shooting him five times. He was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital. He was only 27 years old.
In a statement posted on the university website, MIT Police Chief John DiFava said,
"Sean was one of these guys who really looked at police work as a calling. He was born to be a police officer.”
“Born to be a police officer.”
It is hard to imagine a finer tribute for a man who died in the line of duty.
We can think of many variations . . .
She was born to be a mother.
He was born to play baseball.
She was born to be a senator.
He was born to be a soldier.
She was born to help the homeless.
He was born to lead a nation.
What were you born to do?
That’s a hard question.
You’ll spend the rest of your life trying to answer it.
You can read the rest of the sermon online.