Mission from God
In the original Blues Brothers movie, Jake and Elwood Blues were convinced that they were on a mission from God and they were going to do what it took to achieve that mission.
What if I told you that you, too, have a mission from God? Well, it’s true. Maybe you’re skeptical about that. Some of you might be saying:
- I’m not holy enough to have a mission from God.
- I’m not important enough to have a mission from God.
- I don’t have enough power to have a mission from God.
- I’m not smart enough to have a mission from God.
I’m here to tell you that no matter how holy or important or powerful or smart you are – or are not – doesn’t matter. Peter was a fisherman, and not a very good one at that. David was a shepherd, which was a pretty lowly job. Mary and Joseph were very poor without power or prestige. Yet God chose each of them. He gave each of them exactly what they needed to live out the purpose he had for them. And he has done the same for you and me. We each have a mission from God.
How do I know?
Jesus said in Matthew chapter 9: The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.
We are those laborers! This is a sad verse if you think about it. Jesus said there is so much need and not enough people willing to work. If I see my faith as “me and God,” I don’t worry about the vineyard. I have my own thing going. But God tells us that it’s not all about me. I have work to do. One of the Psalms says: Prosper the work of my hands, O Lord. We are called to work. And work is good. It’s good for us, and the work we do should be good for others as well.
That’s because the most important work we do is for the Kingdom of God. It is the most valuable – the most beneficial – the work that will bring us the most joy. We are the laborers in the vineyard. God has called us to do his work. So let’s consider five truths about this work: - about this mission we have from God.
- Each of us has a purpose. (Psalm 139:13-16) Sadly, many people don’t know that they were born for a reason. Their life has meaning and value but they have not yet realized it. We are all called to be laborers in the vineyard, no matter our age or degree of holiness. God calls people at all times of the day, meaning all times of our spiritual life, even when we are a newborn babe in the faith. God created you with a purpose – for this time and place in the world. You were born in a particular family, in a particular country and state and city, in a particular time in history. It isn’t random; it is perfectly planned by God. You are here for a reason – to build up the Kingdom of God. Part of the journey of life is finding out exactly what that means for us – our unique purpose - and then living it.
- Each of us has gifts given by God. We have these gifts, not simply to make the world a better place, but to bring people to an encounter with God. We have to identify our gifts so we can develop and use them. Mother Theresa’s gift was compassion for the suffering and dying of the world. Look what she did with that gift! She opened hundreds of houses of charity around the world to serve the poor and marginalized. My cousin Scott has the gift of generosity. He carries extra 20 dollar bills and gives them to people when he sees a need. He doesn’t do this to draw attention to himself but to bring God’s love to others. My gift is writing and teaching. But I wasn’t always good at either. I failed at both and had to practice to become better. That’s how it is with any gift – it takes time to develop. Think about what gifts God has given you. Is there something you can do with those gifts to serve God – to help others come to know him? Maybe you already know your gifts. How are you using them to help others get to heaven? How is it helping them know the love of God? How is it helping them heal so they can open their hearts to God? Our gifts allow us to do that. The gifts of listening, empathy, service, compassion, teaching, planning, and more. Learn your gifts and embrace them. Hone them so you can be an even better worker in the vineyard.
- The Master of the Vineyard directs our work. We always have a boss, even when self-employed, because our clients are our bosses. Personally, I have not always been a good employee. Not because I wasn’t a hard worker – I am definitely that. But because if I didn’t agree with the boss, I would do what I thought was best. I was fired from more than one job. The nice thing about working for God is that he won’t fire me. So that’s good. But if we want our work to be fruitful, if we want to be a good worker in God’s vineyard, we have to know our Boss and his expectations. We need to seek His direction. We need to know His voice. We need to do what He wants us to do. Sometimes we think we are doing God’s work but it’s really our own thing. The key is to find out what God wants of me – what work He has for me. I am sure that He wants me to behave in a way that honors him. He wants me to treat others with kindness and share His Truth, even when the truth hurts. He wants me to fight for what’s right. He wants me to tell others about what He has done in my life. He wants me to care for others in whatever way I can. I have to listen for God’s direction so that I serve him and those he puts in my path.
- We are called to become a reflection of God Himself. The Bible says : Speak the truth with love. (Ephesians 4:15) Do not quench a smoldering wick. Do not make it twice as hard for people to enter the kingdom of heaven. Jesus spoke the truth with love. He gave us hard teachings. Think about the sermon on the mount. You have heard it said… But I say… For example, you have heard it said you shall not murder, but I say if you speak with anger to another, you have murdered him in your heart. He raised the bar. Then when the disciples said – it’s too hard – he told them it is for humans, but for God anything is possible. If I am a worker in the vineyard, I have to work like Jesus worked. He loved the sinners and didn’t browbeat them. He told them to sin no more – so he told the truth. And He spoke with love. That’s how we reflect God. So do we drive people away from God or coax them toward him? Read the gospels and see how Jesus loved and taught and become a reflection of Him.
- Each of us will receive our reward. In the parable of the laborers in the vineyard we are told that we will receive a reward at the “end of the day” – meaning at our death. But actually, my experience is that we are rewarded in this life as well. We get paid all the time with the consolations and graces showered down on us every day. I lead a ladies group once a month called Sisters in Faith. When I’m done with the meeting, I’m flying high. I can feel the Holy Spirit working in the group and it is amazing. So yes, there is a heavenly reward, but there is one here on earth, too. It is a foretaste of heaven. God is so generous to us. So bask in the spiritual rewards that you get here on earth as you labor in the vineyard. You will experience joy as you serve others – as you use the gifts God gave you to live your own unique purpose.
We live in a world with many lost sheep. That’s what spurred the comment by Jesus about the harvest being great and the laborers few. We live in a dark world and everyone needs to know God in a personal way. We are the ones God put here to do it. That is our mission from God. I am on a mission from God. And you are on a mission from God. Isn’t it remarkable that God – who needs nobody – who can do all things without us – chooses to use us to accomplish His purpose in the world. Be like Jake and Elwood Blues. Learn your mission and make it happen.
Here are some questions about your mission to take into prayer:
- What is my mission from God? What gifts has He given me to use in this mission?
- How can I be a better reflection of God in the world?