What is your mission for 2021? Were you a fan of the show and the movies, “Mission Impossible?” I always loved that beginning when the star was offered a new mission. “Your mission, should you decide to accept it.” After that came a great plan of action that certainly seemed impossible. I always wondered what happened if he decided not to accept the mission. Would that mean he lost his job, his work, and his place with the government?
The truth is, if we don’t have a clear sense of mission then our likelihood of accomplishing much is extremely small. Even when I have a clear mission statement for my life, it is difficult to fulfill the mission and often feels like it is impossible. It is unquestionable that Jesus accomplished more in a short period of time than anyone who has ever lived on this earth. His ministry only lasted a little over three years, it didn’t involve writing any books, having a massive organization, or any political power. Yet no one ever lived who drew more attention and changed more lives for good than Jesus. One of many things that stand out in Jesus’ life and work was his clear sense of mission that seemed to always be in front of his eyes.
In Luke 19 Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem and passed through Jericho. The crowds were gathered around him, but his attention turned to a small man, who was known in the area as a crook and who had made himself very wealthy as a tax collector, thus seen as a traitor to his nation. Zacchaeus was that tax collector. He had run ahead and climbed a tree to get a good view of Jesus. When Jesus reached the tree he challenged him to come down from the tree since he was going to his house for lunch today. Zacchaeus was thrilled but the crowd was horrified. Why in the world would Jesus choose to go to his house to eat when everyone knew the kind of man he was. But something amazing happened. Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.” Listen closely to Jesus’ response: “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” If you had asked Jesus for his mission statement, this would have been it. It drove everything that he did. He was far more interested in reaching one lost person to bring them to a new life in him than in keeping those who already believed in him happy with his choices.
Back in Luke 15 Jesus explained to the religious leaders who were criticizing him for being friends with tax collectors and sinners that there was more joy in heaven over one sinner that repents than over 99 just persons who need no repentance. His mission and the mission of God in heaven was so totally different from that of the religious leaders who criticized his work and friendships that they couldn’t comprehend what he was trying to do. Their whole picture of the Messiah was a distortion of what God had promised. They expected a Messiah who would lead a conquering army to destroy the Roman Empire. The thought of a savior who was from a very humble background, who drew to him people who weren’t well known or hadn’t had the religious training that was available, just didn’t add up to them.
But what about your personal mission statement? What is your dream for 2021 for you and your spiritual life? How does your personal sense of mission change your actions each day? What if every follower of Christ really took on the same mission of Jesus of seeking to save the lost? Imagine in your own life what it would mean if you really saw your personal mission as being one who shared your faith in Jesus with the people you are around. Imagine making friends with people that often feel rejected in the world to help them find faith and come to the Lord for salvation? What difference would it make if you made it your mission to lead your children and your family to not only come to faith in Christ themselves but to be ones who worked every day to lead those they knew to faith as well?
If you look at what that mission did in Jesus life, it led him to go about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil. It led him to friendships with all kinds of people, both the oppressed, the rejected, the foreigners, the poor, the hurting and those who had been totally obsessed with sin and Satan. It didn’t turn him into some fanatic that stood on the street corner yelling at people. It led him to have compassion on those who were hurting. It led him to give of his time, his energy and his abilities to help.
If we could all make that decision that this year my mission is to be a true disciple of Jesus and to help someone else become a disciple as well, it would change everything about our faith and service to God. Suddenly, instead of looking at church through selfish eyes of “what am I getting out of it?” I begin to think of myself as the ambassador for Jesus whose whole life centers on sharing my faith with someone else.
Think today of who you know that is living away from God and who needs Christ in their life. Begin now to think of ways you can be there for that person to help them find the greatest purpose, joy and fulfillment of their life. In doing so, you will find the greatest fulfillment in your own life as well. BE THE LIGHT TODAY.