Maybe your thoughts turn to events and activities. These are certainly a part of a mission. Over the years, I’ve been involved in many missional activities like work in schools, youth camps, community meals and outreach events with my church, which have often been effective.
However, these activities are only one aspect of Christ’s mission. At its heart, the mission is fulfilling Jesus’ Great Commission to make disciples, baptise them, and teach them to obey His commands. (Matthew 28:16-20)
I’ve learned how important it is to keep a correct focus as we attempt to reach others with the Hope of Christ. It can be easy to get caught up in practicalities, planning, and programmes, or become overly-concerned with how much of a success our activities seem to be. The danger is becoming so focused on the activities, we forget the heart of the mission, or our experience makes us so competent in ourselves we end up relying on our own strength and wisdom instead of looking to God.
To correct course, we must remember this is not our mission, but God’s. As Tommy MacNeil expresses it in his book Sleeping Giant, “The mission of the Church is God’s mission, and we are His partners in that cause. Mission flows from the heart of God, through the people of God, to the world. This means that mission must shift in our thinking from being an activity the Church engages in (or not) to being the core of who we are as God’s people.” (pg 58)
When we recognise it is God’s work which we have the privilege of participating in, we realize we cannot accomplish it in our own strength.
We must do it His way, in His strength, motivated by His love, and there are a few practical steps we can take to do that.
One is to look to Jesus.
When we consider His example of mission, it is striking that He genuinely cared about others. He was never motivated by a desire to prove Himself. He had real compassion for those who were struggling and lost. (Matthew 9:36) As we look to Him, we can embrace His compassion for us, which allows His compassion for others to flow through us, reaching the point where, as early preacher and teacher Paul puts it, “the love of Christ compels us.” (2 Corinthians 5:14)
In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul writes that whatever good deeds we may do for God, and no matter how gifted we may be, if we fail to love, our work counts for nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:1-3) Paul’s fellow apostle, Peter, writes we should seek to maintain constant love “above all.” (1 Peter 4:8)
One must spend time in God’s Word.
Meditating on Scripture allows His light to shine on our hearts and our motivations before we attempt to share Him with others. The writer of Hebrews points out that God’s Word penetrates to the depth of our souls; “It is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12-13)
A desire to see God glorified.
Psalm 1 describes those who delight in the Lord and meditate on His Word as being like “a tree planted beside flowing streams that bears its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither.” (Psalm 1:3)
Jesus used similar imagery when describing Himself as the vine and His disciples as the branches. Just as the branches can only bear fruit if they remain joined to the vine, we can only be fruitful if we remain in Him. (John 15:4-5)
A key component of Christ’s mission involves the essential step of prayer.
We must pray for ourselves and our heart motivations, for God to be glorified,
for His Spirit to make our work effective for His mission, and for those to whom we hope to witness, that their eyes would be opened to God that they might call on Him, know Him, and walk in His light.
Mission Day 10
If we are really honest with ourselves, our answer might be that we want to love Christ like that, but… there is a lot going on.
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