This is the second post in a series on our inadequacy. Read the others here.
We all want to be a part of something that will change the world. Or at least we really like that idea. At some level we realise that living for ourselves isn’t enough, or it ought not be enough. At the same time, we are also easily satisfied. We know we shouldn’t live for ourselves, but we really like to.
We want to end world hunger, but we also want to buy a boat.
And we vacillate between these two poles: our altruistic selves and our consumerist selves, never staying at either long enough to feel at home. We end up a little guilty, a little anxious, wondering if we’re living for the right thing or if we’re missing out. Maybe there’s a better way. That better way would start with us realising that we are inadequate in what we choose to do. We don’t have what it takes when choosing the mission for our lives.
We don’t have the mission. Or at least, we don’t have the mission we ought to have. There is a mission that exists, one that is changing the world now and in the very way we hoped could be possible. Peace coming to places where no peace existed before. Healing coming to places that have been forever broken.
So, what is this mission? In Luke 10, Jesus hand picks 72 people to be a part of His mission (you can read the whole story here). His mission is proclaiming the kingdom, in verses 9-11:
Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, ‘Even the dust of your town we wipe from our feet as a warning to you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God has come near.’
Here’s the backstory to this kingdom that Jesus cares so much about: From the beginning of time, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit have been working in this world to create a people for Himself. These people reflect God’s glory to the world, to each other and back to God. We, in our typical human ways, reject this goodness and try to go it alone. Jesus loves us so much that even in our rejection and self-imposed isolation, He comes to us and offers His self-sacrificial love. This is what the Trinity is up to and primarily what the kingdom is about: living in response to the God who not only created us, but sought us out in our darkness and pursues us in love. In this kingdom there is healing, there is peace. Our mission as people who follow Christ is to proclaim this kingdom.
We contort this mission by making it about us and trying to do it ourselves. It’s all about the God who creates, calls, and is now re-creating us into better humans for our good and His glory. But we constantly exchange this exciting mission for smaller, more bite size ones that dethrone God and put us in the centre, living small lives and always wondering if we’re missing out. We are inadequate in knowing what the mission even is.
Have you ever wondered about the trajectory of your life? Relationships, families, jobs? As a Christian these external questions might still be there, but the gift of Jesus’ mission means that we can always be a part of something that is changing the world. This adds meaning to our lives when we question why we’re here. We might have specific questions about how exactly that’s working out, and we might have grief over specific areas in our lives not panning out as we expected, but we can always be sure that Jesus is advancing His church and we can be a part of that. That allows us to take heart when we have circumstantial setbacks.
We need Jesus to give us the gift of His mission. Our lives, our imaginations, are too big for the small missions our small-minded selves concoct.
Thankfully, Jesus is gracious and gives us something to be a part of, something that is changing the world as you read these very words. Just as Jesus picks out the 72 in this story, He has picked us out. Since He has the mission…are we asking Him about it? Do we listen to what He’s telling us?