Some people find their personal mission early in life, others discover it much later. Most people aren’t really looking, they want a job that pays well or just want to find that elusive “happiness” that everyone seeks. Yet, when you find your mission there is a deeper feeling – joy comes from the satisfaction that you found what really serves others and satisfies you deeply. That mission field may not be a world away. It might be close, in your neighborhood, or in the city just a drive away.
It’s always inspiring to find children or teens who connect with a simple idea that comes from a caring heart and they discover their mission. Like the boy in Pittsburg who, with the help of his grandmother, hands out blankets to the homeless over the Thanksgiving weekends. Then there are the teens who gather donated bicycles each year and take them to an Indian reservation in South Dakota. How about the two dentist friends who travel each year to Haiti to offer free dental care. This list could go on and on.
Each mission is personal. Each mission is unique. They can not be copied because each of you is totally unique. Sometimes folks will just back into their mission; they discover it by accident. However, most of the time, as Christians, we discover it in the journey: simply walking with Jesus, learning about Jesus, doing ministry, which leads us to discovering our personal mission. That mission is best when we invite others to join us. It is in that congregation of the faithful or partnership of prayer that we unleash good in the world.
None of this is a strategy to defeat terrorism or overcome global climate change – although there may be a mission in there for someone – but the acts of mercy compounded and spread can change the world one person and one community at a time. Think about it. If twelve apostles can change the world why can’t you be a part of that change. Ultimately geo-politics doesn’t not change hearts – God’s powerful love does. Governments and think tanks will debate how to achieve lasting peace and how we confront evil regimes. You must follow your call to be on mission wherever it leads.
That’s the last key point – “wherever it leads.” Real mission may make you stay put or may take you far away. You will know it – it will drive you to where you need to go but don’t miss the call by choosing no risk over a holy risk.
“For so the Lord has commanded us, saying, “‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’” (Acts 13:47) That’s you – people of the Gospel – people of Good News.
[I dedicate this to Kayla Muller, who was killed by ISIS. Kayla went to serve the poor in Syria and while there was kidnapped. In a letter that was smuggled out before her death she wrote, “By God and by your prayers I have felt tenderly cradled in freefall. I have been shown in darkness, light [and] have learned that even in prison, one can be free,” she wrote. “I am grateful. I have come to see that there is good in every situation, sometimes we just have to look for it.”]