Own the Mission

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It’s hard to explore or explain mission if you’ve decided that God is a figment of ancient imaginations and that life has no meaning beyond the moment. Lots of people talking about mission, but – if you’re operating with informed clarity – it demands a spiritual dimension.

Consult the dictionary: mission has three primary definitions: 1) an important assignment carried out for political, religious or commercial purposes, typically involving travel; 2) the vocation or calling of a religious organization, especially a Christian one; to go out into the world and spread its faith; or, 3) a strongly felt aim, ambition or calling. Without a foundational faith, there is no mission.

Celebrated activist Maya Angelou died in 2014 at the age of 86. Search “mission” on Google; her personal mission statement gets top ranking: “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some great passion, some compassion, some humor and some style.” Hopeful; positive; unquestionably generic: in the absence of an effective alternative, her chosen epitaph could satisfy the question. Without knowing the source, many/most people fall into step with that kind of life direction. Is that why we’re all here? Is that why you’re here?

Angelou had – and, has innumerable followers; she was a model to many. Her mission would become their mission. Jesus had – and, has – millions of followers. He intended to make his mission transferable: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 20:19-20).

Later dubbed “The Great Commission, Jesus passed the missional baton he personally carried – to multiply the number of people who would follow him in life, all the way to Heaven – to each succeeding generation of people who would claim relationship with him.

Saul the Oppressor became Paul the Apostle; after working with the authority of the Jewish religious leaders to eliminate the followers of Jesus and the churches there established, he became the most prolific multiplier of converts and churches in the earliest days of the Faith. In his own words: “… if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:17-20).

Coming out of my Year of Leukemia, I recognize my planning horizon has probably been shortened. “Living on borrowed time” is my reality. I’ve reduced my game-plan to Four Tenets that inform my approach to these days of overtime that I’ve been granted.

Last week: Tenet #1 was Pack your Bags. This week, Tenet #2 is Own the Mission. Barna’s research reveals that only 17% of Christians in the pews of evangelical churches know what the Great Commission is; of that sad minority, fewer still are acting in keeping with its clear order: to make disciples.

Well intentioned – but misinformedChristians can be sucked into good works that place them alongside humanitarians who labor to make like better for people who are on their way to Hell. Jesus did good works, but always accompanied them with the Good Words – the Gospel – that would redirect the destiny of lost people from Hell to Heaven. You cannot be on-mission unless you are also on-message: without the facts of human depravity and divine redemption – made possible by the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ – it falls short of the mission left to us by Jesus.

So sad: the secular dictionary is more clear about mission than most Christians are.

Do you own the mission? Have you found your calling within the Great Commission?

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2 thoughts on “Own the Mission”

  1. Thanks Bob this is right on target!! There is nothing more critical to our lost world that to communicate the message of Jesus and executing the mission of Christ.

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