When I hear the word “mission”, I think of the contrast between TV episodes with outlandish challenges and achievements, corporate mission statements, and the ongoing search by many to find purpose. In my mind, the contrast always begins to blur with reflection. Many write mission statements with the intent of realizing the possibilities only found in television. Many live their lives while trying to understand the why and where. In everything, we continually reach for happiness knowing that the obstacles will be overwhelming. Each attempt is a grasp for something that lies beyond our present.
With the benefit of age, I am not sure this mission is the one that you and I should embrace. There is an alternative. We could define mission by purpose. Nothing more. Mission would not exist anywhere by the present. Mission would not include anyone but those that are here. Mission would be realization of our best dreams, highest values, and greatest hopes in the moment we have.
If this was our mission, then I can see how we would take the following approach.
We would always be looking for the best in others. This helps our mission.
We would celebrate diversity and difference. Great ideas are found in the intersection between the many ways we embrace the opportunities.
We would be inclusive. Communities are stronger with more.
The framework for this approach to mission can only be found in the ordinary events of your life and mine. It is in the daily routine that we find mission. It is in the boring and mundane that we have the greatest chance to see our values alive. It is in the living, breathing, and eventually dying that we fulfill our God given destiny.
It is a consistent pattern across the centuries. “David, of course, having completed the work God set out for him, has been in the grave, dust and ashes, a long time now.” (Acts 13.36) It is a pattern filled with invitation, compassion, and support. This is a pattern filled in its core with an invitation for you and me.