“Freebird – Purpose” by Rick Shurtz

At Gateway Church in Austin, we began our series Freebird: Live Free. Work Free.

In Austin, find a Freebird Small Group here.

Apply what you learn with these Next Steps.

You can watch the message Rick Shurtz shared at our McNeil Campus www.gatewaychurch.com/podcast.

I shared at the South Campus, and you can listen here:

Here are notes from the message:

Everybody works. The CEO works. The salesperson works. The electrician works. The stay at home parent works. The teacher works. It takes work to make it through the day.

But then all of a sudden we feel trapped. We think to ourself: “I can’t quit. I can’t get out. I’m stuck. I’m enslaved. I’d love to punch out, and never look back.”

Here’s the point of our series: we can experience freedom now. We don’t have jump from job to job or live for our vacation or wait until retirement, we can experience freedom.

Scripture gives us this superlative:

Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. – Proverbs 4:23

Most critical to your wellbeing. We are to guard our hearts, our desires, our wishes, our wants because everything we do springs from our desires.

Our hearts drive us. They compel us. They steer us to do things and not do things, to engage things and to quit things, to get up and to sit down. We are driven by our hearts, our desires, our passions.

Sometimes our hearts lie to us.

So guard your heart, scripture tells us. Pay attention to your desires.

So what’s in our hearts? What do I want? What do you want?

Three things

There are at least three deep desires that drive us. There are many layers to our hearts, so I don’t claim these to be comprehensive, but they do say a great deal about us.


  • It’s about our personal well being.
  • We want food on the table.
  • We want a roof over our heads.
  • We want clothes on our back.
  • We want good health.


  • We don’t just want safe lives, though, we want lives we enjoy.
  • We want to climb mountains.
  • We want to eat ice cream.
  • We want to hit the beach.
  • We don’t just want to survive in life.
  • We want to thrive in life.


  • We want lives that matter.
  • We want to make a difference.


We could apply these corners to any area of life, but let’s apply them to our jobs.

  • Does this job provide for my wellbeing?
  • Do I enjoy what I do?
  • Does this job serve a purpose?

Different jobs will have different degrees of each of these. Some will give us a HIGH sense of purpose, but maybe they don’t pay so well, so they give LESS for us on protection, but more for us on purpose. And so on.

To guard my heart is to be highly aware of these desires, and to be highly aware of how these desires are being either MET or FRUSTRATED.

Your perspective on your work, your perspective on whatever it is that you do, it has a GREAT deal to do, I’m convinced, with how each of these corners is or is not being satisfied.

Means To Satisfaction

Scripture says this:

These three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

– 1 Corinthians 13:13

Life boils down to three things. Three things remain. These are the essence of living.

Faith. Hope. And love.

Faith is when we put our TRUST in something. I trust in something for my wellbeing, for my protection.

We hope for something we will enjoy. Hope corresponds to pleasure.

A simple way we can look at love – especially in relation to work – it’s when we meet a need in the life of another person. Love corresponds to our desire for purpose.

What’s your purpose?

Despite the fact that we can find some sort of purpose in what we do, how often have you looked at what you do and either thought or felt:

  • Isn’t there something more?
  • Is this really it?

Let’s look at what Scripture says about purpose.

They came to Jesus and asked him, “What’s most important in all the law?” Or put another way, “In all of Scripture, what’s most important?” Jesus responded:

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” – Matthew 22:36-40

Your primary purpose: Love God.

Your secondary purpose: Love people.

Let’s apply it to our work and see if work satisfaction increases.

Let love drive your work.

Let love for others drive what you do. Your job serves some function. If you do it well, other people have better lives. There’s something profound in that.

There’s still this hunger in our heart for more purposeful lives, and we still wonder if there might be something more to our purpose.

If I exist, if my ultimate purpose, if it’s limited to the function of my job, let’s be honest, my purpose will at times feel small.

So what is it? What’s “more than this”? What else was I created for?

When God dreamed you up…

When God created you, when he thought about you and considered why he might bring you into the world, it wasn’t about getting a certain job done.

Yes, there would be work for you to do, but that wasn’t the purpose.

He dreamed you up, he created you, he brought you into existence, because he wanted to enjoy you, he wanted to relate to you, he wanted to know you and for you to know him.

Love God

When Jesus tells us that the greatest law in all of Scripture is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, he tells us that because he wants us to know that our deepest and most profound purpose is to know and relate and enjoy and commune with our God.

That’s why He made us.

You were created to know and be known by God.

Not because he needed you but because He wanted you.

You and I, our hearts have a ferocious hunger for purpose.

We want lives that matter.

We genuinely want to make a difference in this world, and to lead purposeful lives.

So this hunger for purposeful living, it’s profound, it’s big, it’s a deep, deep hunger.

When we recognize that this deep hunger that we have, that it’s deep for a reason. It’s deep because this hunger was created for a relationship with an eternal God.

That’s a liberated way of life.

  • We loosen our grip on that job.
  • We hold it open handed.
  • And it loosens it’s grip on us.
  • No longer is it our everything.

I don’t know how a person can live and limit their purpose, and be satisfied with their purpose, by just grabbing on to whatever job is in front of them.

It is purposeful. Highly purposeful.

Anything you do driven by love is purposeful.

So do that, and do it well, but let’s not be a people who miss the big picture.

When we recognize that God dreamed us up, brought us into existence, because he wanted to enjoy and be enjoyed by us, it brings a whole new dimension to life.

It directs us toward a God whom our hearts were designed to love.

Above all else

Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.

You know you can ruin your heart?

Take that heart that was designed to know the eternal God and attempt to fully satisfy it with temporary solutions.

You know how you steward your heart, and protect your heart?

Let it be liberated and set free by doing what it was designed to do…

Loving God and loving people, and doing all that you can do to give full vent to both of these things.


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