Jesus knew his mission. He stated it clearly and pursued it with passion. The events and circumstances in first century Israel amplified his mission with great clarity. Oppression from the Romans and the whimsical nature of the Greek culture were threats that could have quickened or delayed fulfillment of his earthly purpose. Jewish zealots were always prepared to end his mission. The Gospel of John gave particular emphasis to that mission and the "hour" appointed for his purpose. Over and over John referenced Christ's measured response to the opposition he faced and his awareness of a coming hour when the mission would be accomplished. It is a thrilling subtext to the Gospel of John, the mission that defined his time on the earth, and the hour when it would be fulfilled. In one pivotal moment he announced, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified" (John 12: 23). It was when he would finish the work God had given him to accomplish.
Jesus said, "My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work" (John 4:34). His disciples had encouraged him to take some nourishment to supply what is humanly needed to continue the pace and urgency of mission. Jesus had told them that he had food to eat that they could not grasp or understand. Then he explained that his source of sustenance was not human food, but rather the mission for which he had come to earth. This mission was the driving force of his life, the source of all he needed to complete the assignment God had ordained for his earthly ministry. His mission was to do God's will and finish God's redemptive plan.
For the moment, understand the essential truth of being guided by a personal mission. No, we're not Jesus Christ and cannot understand completely his assignment of dying on a cross for the sins of mankind. But, even in our modern culture we can know the influence of personal mission in our daily lives. Having a mission statement is one of the contemporary in things in culture. Churches have them, organizations are developing them, the educational system is teaching the value of them, and even government is grappling with the need to be more specific in the goals of their work.
As a pastor for the past forty years I've operated with a clear mission statement. It is based on a Scripture verse that is identified as my Mission Verse. It's been printed, framed, and displayed visibly in my sight for those forty years. One verse is definitive of my personal mission---
Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to
preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ,9 and to make plain to everyone
the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who
created all things.
Ephesians 3: 8-9, NIV
This verse has brought consistent direction to my personal calling as a Christian pastor. It has kept me, for the most part, on target in my service to four congregations. There have been many occasions when unusual circumstances have blown me off course or shifted my attention. But, this verse, and the formative influence it has held on my personal mission has always corrected my direction and given me guidance.
The point is that we should all have a mission statement to guide our life journey. If we are to follow the example of Jesus Christ in life, to somehow walk in his steps, we should examine the ideal of having a personal mission statement, and develop one. Fulfilling the purpose of God is a great starting place. The Apostle Paul wrote, "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect" (Romans 12: 2).
Mission. Discerning the will of God and seeking it. Simple, Profound. Mission.
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