The story is told of a truck driver who was hauling 10 penguins to the zoo. Unfortunately, his truck broke down. He eventually waved down another truck and offered the driver $500 to take the penguins to the zoo.
Later that day the first truck driver got his truck fixed and drove into town but couldn’t believe his eyes! Just ahead of him he saw the second truck driver crossing the road with the 10 penguins waddling single file behind him. He jumped out of his truck, ran up to the guy and said, “What’s going on? I gave you $500 to take these penguins to the zoo!”
The man responded, “I did take them to the zoo. But I had enough money left over so now we’re going to the movies.”
Ok, maybe that’s a little corny. But here’s the point. The guy in the second truck didn’t understand what he was supposed to be doing. He misunderstood his assignment.
Sadly, too many believers and churches today are fuzzy about their sense of purpose. Their reason for being. The mission for which God created us.
Our word of the week, mission, is not often used in English translations of the Bible, but the message is present from Genesis to Revelation.
In Acts 12:25 the Bible says, “Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem when they had fulfilled their mission, taking along with them John, who was also called Mark. (NASU)
Paul understood his mission. To the Galatians he penned, “God, who had sent Peter on a mission to the Jews, was now using me to preach to the Gentiles” (Gal. 2:8, CEV)
To the Epheisans elders, Paul expressed the passion for his mission this way: “I don’t care about my own life. The most important thing is that I complete my mission, the work that the Lord Jesus gave me — to tell people the Good News about God’s grace” (Acts 20:24, NCV)
Our English word mission is derived from the Latin for sending. God sent His Son into the world “to seek and save the lost (Lk. 19:10). Jesus understood his reason for being on earth and stated, “I must be about My Father’s business” (Lk. 2:49).
When Jesus called the apostles, he sent them as messengers on a mission to accomplish His will and spread His word. Following the resurrection He reminded them “as the Father has sent me, so I am sending you” (John 20:21).
Likewise, we are made for a mission. My friend and preaching colleague, Gary Henry was right when he wrote. “Our mission is our main purpose for living. It is the one thing that we would most like to accomplish or achieve while we’re alive. All of us have some such goal or reason for living.”
The Bible states our purpose as Christians clearly and specifically. “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Eph. 2:10, NIV). In other words, all that we do should “be to the praise of His glory.” An expression used 3 times in Ephesians chapter one.
We have been called by the gospel into a relationship with Christ so that we can be “conformed into His image” (Rom. 8:29), be saved eternally (Phil. 2:12)and share the message of God’s saving grace with others ( Mk. 16:15; 1 Tim. 4:16).
William Bate once said, “He who wishes to fulfill his mission in the world must be a man of one idea, that is, of one great overmastering purpose, overshadowing all his aims, and guiding and controlling his entire life.”
God has given you a reason for living. An assignment to complete. A mission to fulfill. Make His purpose your purpose.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman