We are a missions driven church. We devote our time, treasure and talent to partnering with Gods mission, locally and globally. Underlying all of these many activities, investments and efforts is a basic connection to Gods heart, a love that flows from what Jesus has done in us. If and when we lose sight of the real reason we do all of this, we will either get discouraged and disconnect from Gods mission or continue to do the same things but for the wrong reasons. The answer is to keep the motivation for what we do fresh in our hearts. We will encounter challenges when we pursue Gods call. When we run out of ourselves, we run into God. Knowing, clearly, the motive and the message of our mission will help us persevere in every circumstance, because of Gods love.
When you look at the lives of the people who effectively lived out Gods call, that made a real and lasting difference for Christ, you discover they had a deep grasp of what is at the heart of Gods mission. They had run out of themselves and run into God. They had faced some real challenges, hit the wall, struggled, suffered and answered these deep questions:
Why do we do what we do?
What is it really all about?
What is my role?
Paul is one of the best examples in Scripture of a person who was not only effective but knew the why and what of his call and mission. It makes sense: his life had been deeply changed through his encounter with Jesus, and he had suffered a lot as a result of his wholehearted commitment to Gods call for his life. He was able to face the challenges because he knew why he did what he did and what it was all for.
2 Corinthians 5:14-21 (ESV)
v14: For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; v15: and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. v16: From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. v17: Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. v18: All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; v19: that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. v20: Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. v21: For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
I. Missions Motivation: Christs love controls me (v14). The WHY
II. Missions Message: Reconciliation and a new creation (vs17-19, 21). The WHAT
III. Missions Messenger: Us (v20). The HOW