I’m the big hitter.
When I was a kid, my brother and I loved to play baseball. But, since there were only 2 of us, it didn’t work very well. So, we created all sorts of rules to make it work. We had ghost-runners (you know what those are, right?). If you hit the ball over there, it was an automatic double. If you hit the ball way back there, it’s an automatic homerun. If it’s Tuesday, you get a free extra runner that can go backwards.
Family legend seems to recall that since I was the older brother, I would always be changing the rules to my advantage so I could win. My brother still doesn’t want to play games with me, so maybe there is some truth to that. The problem was, the rules were always changing and so it was hard to know how to play and how to win.
We’ve got that same problem when it comes to “living on mission.” We use this phrase at my church to describe part of what it means to live in connection with God…we “live on mission.”
But, if you’ve spent any time around a church in the past several years, you’ve probably heard the word “missional” or “on mission”. It’s been over-used and under-lived. The definition seems to be a moving target and it’s hard to know what it actual means. So, let me take a stab at clearing things up:
You are only on Jesus’ mission if you are walking in Jesus’ way.
Hanging out at a bar or coffeeshop doesn’t make you missional. Being part of a new church plant doesn’t make you missional. Having cool facial hair doesn’t do it. Doing nice things for poor people doesn’t mean you’re living on mission.
Walking like Jesus’ walked. Engaging people in real, messy, life-on-life relationships. Sacrificing yourself. Serving instead of being served. Giving instead of getting. This is Jesus’ way. This is life on mission.
Jesus said it this way,
“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:34-36)
Following Jesus – joining in his mission – is sometimes about denying ourselves. It might cost you in this life for the good of his eternal way & Kingdom. Salvation & connection with God are free – they cost you nothing. That is the gift of God. But following Jesus will cost you something.
And it’s always worth it. Jesus is saying, “if you’re going to lose the things in this life anyway (we all die), why not use this life to build into things that are eternal?” Wouldn’t you make that trade if you really thought about it?
I’m not sure what or when it will cost you, but it will. In that moment, you can choose to join in Jesus’ mission, follow his way, and be a part of
This plays out in every area of our lives: marriage, finances, parenting, work, play, community, church. Where is Jesus asking you to follow him today that may cost you something?
If you’re ready to live on mission and you’re part of Ezra Church, maybe you could even check out one of the 104 ways to serve at Ezra this fall!
(More thoughts on “living on mission” coming soon…)