This summer I spoke on the topic of “Living on Mission for God” at the “By the Way” Conference at the Lexington Community Church in central Illinois. It was a great time at the church, as my wife Tammy and I got to meet many wonderful people and visit with their pastors. I wanted to share a brief summary of the message I delivered at the conference.
The theme of the conference was being mission minded in our everyday lives. I looked at how we – whether we work in a large organization, a small non-profit, are a stay at home mom, a student, farmer or are retired – can live out the mission God intended for our lives. How can we live on mission for God?
Drawing on the scriptures and a number of excellent books I have read, I started with some foundational information, looking at God’s mission in creating the human race and redeeming us for His glory, the mission of the church (the “Great Commission”), and how we can be a part of God’s mission as individual believers. I summarized this section by indicating:
- God made all humans for His glory and to enjoy Him forever.
- We are part of the body of the church which is making manifest and bearing witness to the Kingdom of our Savior.
- As a Christian we have an extraordinary mission. It is to participate with God in His work to renew all things, working as an agent of His love in all areas of life.
- Our mission is founded on:
- Core biblical principles
- Core beliefs about our identity in Christ
As I looked at living on mission for God in our individual callings, I shared a quote from Russell Gehrlein’s new book Immanuel Labor:
“God has placed us right where we need to be and empowered us with all the skills we need to do our work for His purposes and glory. We must shine the light of Christ in dark places and become part of His work to bring common grace to all who are made in his image.”
I shared information about calling that has been helpful to me from Os Guinness’s book The Call. Guinness tells us that as Christians, our primary calling is that everyone, everywhere and in everything, should think, speak, live and act entirely for God. Our secondary callings can be our jobs or vocations. However, these, and other things are always the secondary, never the primary, calling. I don’t get my identity through my secondary calling, but through my primary calling.
I then looked at living on mission for God in six applications. I’ll share a few takeaways from each application below:
Living on Mission for God as a Student
- Living on mission for God as a student, and learning, is a calling from God and not simply a means to an end. This can be looked at as a temporary, but very important vocation. Think of it as a short-term vocation, with the purpose of preparing for another vocation.
Living on Mission for God as a Stay at Home Mom
- One of the great challenges of motherhood is the lack of a job description. Mom’s don’t keep normal business hours because their children don’t. Mom’s don’t have workplace boundaries because they live at work. The tasks are always there waiting to be done. The children are always there needing attention, love and training. (Courtney Reisigg)
- In our Christian subculture at home work is praised as good and faithful work. But if you find your hope and identity in folded laundry, a spotless refrigerator and children who praise you from the rooftops, you have misplaced affections regarding your work (Courtney Reisigg)
Living on Mission for God Through Hospitality
- It’s more true than ever to say that evangelism is going to look like hospitality (Matt Chandler)
- The extent of our courage will be shown by who sits around our table. (Matt Chandler)
- Radical, ordinary hospitality is using your Christian home in a daily way that seeks to make strangers neighbors and neighbors family of God. It brings glory to God, serves others and lives out the gospel in word and deed. (Rosaria Butterfield)
Living on Mission for God in the Workplace
- Work is a function of being God’s image bearers. Everything we do, whether it is work in the home or outside the home is imaging the God who made us to work.
- Our daily work, whatever that may be, is ultimately an act of worship to the God who called and equipped us to do it. (Tim Keller)
- My introduction to connecting my faith and work was from John Piper’s article “Lord-Focused Living at Work”. Over the years, I handed out many copies of the article to co-workers and supervisors to explain how I approached my work – basically doing my work for the Lord as opposed to any earthly supervisor or organization.
Living on Mission for God in Retirement
- My role model for living on mission for God in retirement was a man named Art. After retiring as a math professor, well into his 80’s Art was still mentoring young men, reading books, writing book reviews and articles for our church newsletter. May I be like Art as I finish my race.
Living on Mission for God as Our Missions are Ending
- I want to finish well in all aspects of my life. After all, don’t we all long to hear the Lord tell us at the end of our race: “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.” Matthew 25:21
- We all know those who have started well, but not finished well. I think back to one of my early classes at Covenant Seminary when we studied the kings. As just one example, King Asa was a king of Judah who is referred to in II Chronicles 14:2 as someone who “did what was good and right in the eyes of the LORD, his God”. But he did not finish well.
As beloved children of the king, intentionally live out your mission, secure in your identity God has given you in Christ, centered on God, biblical principles and loving others. Finishing well for God and His glory!