Kingdom Principle: The Church is mission, the Kingdom is missionally motivated
For the past 5 years my family has participated in a “mission trip” where our mission was not to be on a mission trip, but rather to be missionally present with those to whom we are sent. There has been no tasks to complete, and there is no measurement of what we have accomplished, rather there are relationships that have been deepened and there is life that is shared. We are mission because we are sent, not because we have to, or because we need to, rather for the sake living into the Hope which God has called us to. Identity is formed and confirmed in the fulfillment of mission.
The Lord separates out His people based on Identity – not outwardly, but rather by inward motivation (This is an act of mercy). Matthew addresses people as sheeps or goats, and yet there is one thing the same about both, each group responds with surprise for they did not see as the Lord saw, therefore they both say, “Lord, when did we see you…” I imagine that behind their response is, “If we had seen YOU in need, we certainly would have served YOU” but, “we did not see YOU”. (remember this is the same for both groups) What or who then did they see?
Clearly there are those who, while they did not see “Him”, they were missionally motivated and completed the task set before them, while there are others who because they did not see never saw engaged the mission. It is theses goats who are waiting to be sent on mission, rather than living their lives as mission. When we see a need and respond to it, we can quickly feel as if we are on a mission to accomplish a task. There is nothing wrong with this; businesses have mission’s to accomplish, churches and youth groups go on missions trips, and many today have personal mission statements they seek to fulfill.
However, if our motivation is based on the reward of completing the mission or avoiding the guilt of avoiding the mission, then the mission is external to you and can be separated from you. To engage in mission, unaware of the reward or the without any avoidance of guilt is to truly be motivated by our identity (values, character and strength – last week’s post) and to be mission. Jesus was and is the mission of God. Jesus was not on a mission for God, Jesus is the mission. Are we are to be with Jesus, as a body is with the Head. (Eph. 1:22, Col 1:18)
The church is mission not on a mission. The righteous are not motivated by reward they are motivated by mission. Again, when we go on a mission, it begins and ends…. When we are mission, we move and have our being as mission. (Acts 17:28) As we find in these passages the King is separating out two groups of people. I see the separation as those who are mission and those who see mission as something they do. (There will be many who cry out Lord, Lord, yet will hear – “I never knew you” (Matt 7:21-23). Jesus leads the way and the Church fulfills the mission, by being filled with Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit. That very filling yields wisdom and revelation which leads us to engage mission. Because mission cannot be separated from Jesus nor for that matter the Church, those who are mission have a hope that carries them beyond accomplishment.
This Hope is expressed in life as we see in Psalm 100. This hope also overcomes confusion about God’s will for your life. Where confusion comes in, we can be sure it is a work of the enemy. I am not saying confusion is sin or a result of sin, but where there is confusion – ask for mercy (last week’s post). Confusion is a battle ground for the mind. We must resist the devil, in order for confusion not to lead us to sin. I confess my life is not without confusion as to what decisions to make regarding some directions in life. However my confession overcomes my confusion, for, because I will always have many choices but only one mission. Often we can become trapped waiting and looking for God’s will, and I understand the desire to go through the “right” door, but truly to be mission is to know that no matter what path I take, I will be serving the King. So pray, ask for mercy and run forward so that you will have increased awareness and receive the grace of the Lord to set your path straight.
Finally, the Kingdom is missionally motivated, and the Kingdom of God is within you. Further in the Kingdom of God His servants are called to have their focus beyond themselves. In much the same way the King is focused on his people, as the people of the King we are servants in the Kingdom which takes our focus outwardly. Therefore – when we are mission, our (right) actions are not the primary concern of the King, rather it’s the movement of the Kingdom through righteousness.
For a moment, forget about any decisions or confusion that need to be resolved and focus on the hope to which you have been called. If this is too hard – simply reread the Ephesians passage and believe in the power and ask for the Spirit of wisdom and revelation. Now regarding the hope to which you are called:
- What does that hope look like?
- To fulfill that hope what will it require?
- When your life is mission, there is no such thing as failure – Can you accept this?
- Follow and Be with Jesus, he will lead you, not Go… Fear not – He is with you!
To be mission, is to be called and separated out by God for his Kingdom and not your own. That is to be a sheep of his pasture.