Detective Del Spooner (Will Smith) and Dr. Susan Calvin (Bridget Moynahan) are talking with Sonny, a unique robot created by Dr. Alfred Lanning (James Cromwell) who died under mysterious circumstances and whose death Spooner and Calvin are investigating.
Detective Spooner: Sonny, do you know why Dr. Lanning built you?
Sonny: No. But I believe my father made me for a purpose.
He pauses, looking thoughtfully at Spooner.
Sonny: We all have a purpose—don't you think, detective?
--from I, Robot
I ran across this scene in I, Robot last night, and I couldn’t help but think it provides a good snapshot of a deeper truth. As one who’s trying to follow Jesus, I think we too were made for and have a purpose: ultimately, to love God and love others.
Often, when we think of being made for a purpose, we tend to think of more noticeable incarnations–perhaps like Esther, who held in her hands the fate of her fellow Hebrews, whose cousin Mordecai told her that perhaps she was in that time and place “for such a time as this.”
But I think that the purpose for our lives is often nestled in far more ordinary moments. God is at work all around us, long before we step into a room or out the front door. Like Paul urges, we just need to get our eyes off the ground as we shuffle about and “look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that is where the action is” (Col. 3:1-3 Message). “Stay alert, with your eyes wide open in gratitude . . . . Make the most of every opportunity,” Paul says later (Col. 4:1-4). I’ve come to think of this as being in the room wherever I am and with whoever I’m with. It’s paying attention and simply loving as I go. And more often than not, I’m walking away from those encounters brimming with gratitude and gratefulness. God is good.
It’s also interesting to note that while Sonny was indeed made for a purpose (not only to lead Spooner to the truth but also it turns out he’s made of a higher density alloy that allows him to get through a force field for a weapon to disable a rogue computer), he can’t complete his task alone. He needs the help and trust of Spooner and Calvin—and they need his help and trust, too. And not only does their trust and working together save the world, it changes each of them for the better as well.
It is the same with followers of Jesus. We don’t live our lives in isolation. We are meant to work and live with others in kingdom-coming. Through that, God changes the world—and us, too.
Far too often, I shuffle around looking at the ground, absorbed in to-do lists, agendas or simply putting out the next fire that comes along. It’s good to be reminded that I too was made for a purpose—and to get back to it.
(Image: 20th Century Fox)