“The two most important days in life are the day you born and the day you discover the reason why.” – Mark Twain
“The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and the will to help others.” – Albert Schweitzer
“I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.” – Albert Einstein
“This above all: to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night of the day, thou canst not be false to any man.” – William Shakespeare
“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” — Maya Angelou
“I want to be the kind of person my dog already thinks I am.” - Anonymous
“My mission is to give, for giving is what I do best and I can learn to do better.” - Anonymous
“Our Family Mission: No empty chairs.” - Anonymous
“The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” - Jesus
What is your mission in life? For those who have trusted Christ, our way of life is to follow him in everything. Since his mission was to seek out and to save those who are spiritually lost, our mission, or what we do for Christ, flows out of what he did for us.
This is so important for us to understand. What we do for Jesus Christ is a response. The Lord starts, we respond. He initiates, and we follow. The disciples didn’t come to Jesus and tell him that they wanted to follow him. He told them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matthew 4:19)
If we are to know, deep in the core of our beings, what our purpose is or what our mission in life is, it must start first from responding to what the Lord has done for us. So then, what did Jesus do for you?
Jesus gave it all for you
This weekend we remember just what the Lord did for us, and for the whole world. For two thousand years those who have received and believed the gospel have passed it along. We know that Jesus gave it all for us because of those who have gone on before us. Paul the apostle and the writer of much of the New Testament put it this way, “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4) Notice that it wasn’t only the witness of those who told Paul about Jesus. It was also the witness of the Old Testament scriptures. Jesus died and was raised on the third day. The prophets foretold it.
This is what Jesus himself taught. Jesus preached for three years before his death and resurrection. About half way through his ministry, his disciples really got clued into the fact that he was the Christ, God himself come in human form. Once they “got it”, he began to teach them about the end goal of his mission on earth. “From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.” (Matthew 16:21) Jesus’ death on the cross didn’t happen by accident. It was on purpose. It was God the Father’s will that Jesus die. And why did he die? He did it for you.
Moms are the most trusted people on the planet. The reason why is that moms sacrifice for the well-being of their children. They stay up at night when a child is sick. They go to meets and practices at all times of the year and in all kinds of weather. They care for and are concerned constantly for their kids, no matter how old they are. We know how much they care for us.
We know how much the Lord cares for us because he gave it all. Why did the Lord willingly endure the pain of the cross? He loves us. This is where the good news of Christ starts. It isn’t just information: that Jesus died and came back to life. The apostle Paul wasn’t ashamed of the gospel just because of the information. He understood the power of what Jesus did as he spread the news around the entire Roman Empire. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.” (Romans 1:16)
The good news of Christ tells us that God loved people so much that he himself provided the way out of our darkness and despair. It tells us that Jesus’ sacrifice was necessary to satisfy the demands of justice that a righteous and holy God requires. It tells us that Jesus’ resurrection proves the power of God over everything including the end result of sin which is death. It tells us that the power that raised Jesus from the dead was not just for his own resurrection but was to be applied to every person who trusts him. If Jesus didn’t give it all, you couldn’t have anything at all. He gave it all because he loves and cares for you to the universe and back again.
Jesus rescued you
Our trust in Christ rests on the fact that he came back to life on the third day. Without his resurrection our faith is useless. The apostle Paul wrote, “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.” (1 Corinthians 15:17) That’s because the rescue that we need is from death, and Jesus is our rescuer. The only way that he could rescue us from death is if he himself defeated it.
The movie The Finest Hours, tells the true story of a coast guard rescue operation on the coast of Massachusetts. The SS Pendleton due to an intense storm had broken in two, but the rear part of the ship was able to be grounded on a reef thus buying the 30 some odd men on the ship some time for a rescue. The only coast guard ship available was a small lifeboat with only a three man crew. It was so small that it was considered a suicide mission to go out to sea and cross the bar, the place where the surf is so high and strong that it crashes down with incredible force. It the film, the coast guard boat in trying to cross the bar actually goes completely underwater and then comes out again, making it past the bar and eventually finding the doomed freighter and saving her crew.
This paints the picture of our situation. We are all on a doomed vessel. It’s just a matter of time before we all go under. But Jesus came to our rescue. It order to do that he had to die, like the vessel that was completely submerged under water, and come back to life. He had to cross the bar in order to save us. Because he lives, we also can live. Because he died and came back to life, we can get off our sinking ship and ride with him to eternal life.
Jesus sent people to tell you good news
The good news is the power of God for this rescue from death. It is the gospel that connects people to Jesus who rescues us. As a part of his gospel presentation to the people of Rome, Paul pointed out connecting people to Jesus can’t happen without people who tell people about the good news of Christ. “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent?” (Romans 10:14-15)
The word that we have translated as gospel or good news is “evangel.” This is where the term “evangelical” comes from. This past week I read a book review about The Evangelicals by Frances Fitzgerald. It is clear from the review and just from general observation that the prevailing understanding in our culture about evangelicals is that they are politically conservative. Yet, the root of evangelical is the gospel, the good news of Christ. It is not a political ideology. This is in fact where we need clarity.
You see the good news of Christ is not just a set of beliefs that people agree to. It is not a set of behaviors that people follow. The good news of Christ is personal. The good news is not just that Jesus saves people. The good news is that Jesus saved me! He came to my rescue and brought me up out of the pit. He saved me from the living nightmare that I could not get away from.
The Lord never intended the gospel to be preached only by the professional Bible teacher. He intended for every person who receives the good news and believes it and trusts Christ to tell the people whom God places in their lives. When the Lord said, “As you are going make disciples of all nations,” (Matthew 28:19, my translation) he meant wherever you find yourself – the place where you live, where you work, where you go to school, where you shop, where you eat, where you travel, wherever that may be. So how do we do that? We do that by telling our story of how Jesus rescued us.
Jesus gave you a story to tell
My story was that loneliness and insecurity was the master of my life. I was so desperate for friends that I was willing to completely abandon everything that I knew to be right in order just to be accepted by them. But God loved me so much that he showed me in an extremely painful way just how wrong I was. He showed me that everything I needed was found in him. When I began to look to him to give me what I so desperately needed, that’s when I found those things I longed for. He has in fact given me more friends than I would have ever believed was possible. I never feel lonely. I just don’t because He is always with me. Yes Jesus provided these things for me, but not because I looked for them. Once I found Jesus I found everything. Jesus rescued me. I didn’t do it myself.
This is my story. Jesus rescued me from the lies that I had believed. I truly believed he was the answer, and it because of that I trusted Jesus with my life. My mission in life is to connect people with their rescuer. I do this by telling people my story. If Jesus did this for me I know he will do it for you. Whatever it is that you need to be rescued from, he is the answer.
If Jesus rescued you then you have a story to tell. Tell it often. Tell it well. You are an eyewitness of God’s ongoing mission to seek out those who need to be rescued. Jesus said, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
What’s your story? How has Jesus rescued you, and how is Jesus continuing to rescue you? Last week I met Vito. Vito is a man who gives the Lord the credit for saving his soul and for saving his life. Not too long ago Vito was diagnosed with cancer. Through the doctors and care providers with chemo and other medical treatments, he has been cancer free for several months. He is still getting better physically, but what is awesome is to hear him talk about God’s hand working through all that he’s been through. You absolutely know that Jesus gets all the credit in his life, and not just for healing, but for everything. As I listened to him tell his story he gave credit to the Lord for teaching him about how to love people better through all of the time in the hospital. He gave the Lord credit for using the bad things to make him aware of all of God’s good things.
You don’t have to have cancer to give God credit in your life. You just have to recognize that Jesus is your answer. He uses lots of different people and things to do his work, but he is the one that is doing it. What is your story of Jesus and what he has done for you? Whatever you do for Christ, remember that it starts with what he has done for you. He died and rose again. He sent people to tell you the good news, so that you can be rescued. He’s given you a story to tell. Tell it often. Tell it well.
What is your mission in life? If you’ve trusted in Christ then you start to answer that question by first answering this question: What did Jesus do for me?