Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Whose Mission is it?

My answer to this question is different now than it once was.

In Independent Baptist churches and schools it is not uncommon to hear short rants on this topic. "Jesus wasn't giving the mission to the apostles as individuals! It wasn't given to some universal invisible Church! He was giving it to a local church!!" To these I say a hearty, "Amen!"

However, those are answers to a different question. I am not asking about the means of the Mission, but the Source and Owner of the Mission. Think of this:

A boy is ill. The doctor concocts a medicine to make the child well. He pours it into a spoon and feeds it to the boy. The boy recovers.

Who or what carried out the task of making the child well again?Was it the spoon? No doubt, the spoon was the instrument used to get the medicine to the boy, but it was passive in the task. It was the doctor's task from beginning to end.

Likewise, it is the Lord Himself who is on Mission. He has made provision for the healing of the nations. He supplies the power for the Mission. He seeks, He finds, He saves. It is the Mission of God. It has been His mission since before the foundation of the world.

He was on Mission in the Garden, clothing the two sinners. He was on Mission through Noah, calling all the world to its only hope of salvation. He was on Mission as He drew Israel out of Egypt, displaying His saving power to the nations.

God is still on Mission now, but He has chosen a different spoon: the local church.

Whose Mission is it? God's.

The Mission is bigger than individuals and churches. It was here before us. It will continue when we are gone. Missions is not primarily an action of churches. It is the movement of God. The church is not reaching out to the nations, as much as God is reaching out through her. It has always been about the missionary God, not the missionary churches.

This doesn't change the responsibility of the church in the Mission, but it does change our understanding of what is happening. It replaces our passion with His, our resources with His, our vision with His, our power with His, our agenda with His.

How small our view of the Mission often is! How we strive so, energized by our own meager passion for the nations, formulating our own plans, going forth in our own power. How much more passion would we have if only we would realize what we are (tools) and Who is doing the
work (God).

You can do the work of missions all you like. I will have nothing of it. I will let God work out His own Mission through me. For the Mission is not an act of man, it is the action of God Himself.

Lord, let me be a mere spoon - propelled by Your hand, bearing Your medicine, submitted to Your Mission, energized by Your passion for the nations.

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