Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Mission Statement

When the Israelites complained to Moses about the lack of water at Kadesh, God told Moses, "Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water." But Moses became frustrated with their stubbornness. He struck the rock with his staff and said, "Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?"

He took upon himself the responsibility to "manage" the people and the prerogative to "fix" them.

This is one of the greatest temptations for pastors.

We start focusing on what we need to get people to do—or stop doing. We have our agenda (that we have asked God to bless) and try to get "our people" to put it into action. And before we know it, we are frustrated that God has given us so many lazy and stubborn people and so few eager, obedient people. We start to feel sorry for ourselves (a la Elijah), "I've had enough, Lord." And we feel all alone, "I have been very zealous for you. Those people have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too."

But notice what God tells Elijah, "I have thousands who are yet faithful."

As pastors, when we impose our agenda upon others, we get frustrated and start to feel sorry for ourselves. Everywhere we look we see resistance and opposition. We try to fire people up with an energizing vision. We attempt to motivate them first by encouragement and, when that doesn't work, by guilt. We garrison ourselves in our study and pray for God to send us some people who will support us in our mission.

But here is the problem: It is not our mission.

It is God's mission.

And the logistics are his problem.

While we've been whining for help, God's been hard at work.

What's more, he has people all around us who are participating in his mission. And when we stop trying to impose our agenda, we see that God is busy doing far more than we ever dared dream was possible.

When we start looking for signs of divine activity, we are astonished to see that "suddenly" those signs seem to be everywhere.

  • Where before we saw people who didn't have enough commitment to make it to church every Sunday, we now see people who have to work most weekends but see their jobs as a true ministry.
  • Where before we saw people who couldn't shake their bad habits, we now see people who have a heart for God and have made prayer a natural part of their lives.
  • Where before we saw people who reluctantly supported our programs, we now see people who are eager to participate in God's kingdom in all sorts of ways that we never thought of before.

This is not our mission, our responsibility.

It is God's mission.

And he is calling for us to get up off the ground and prepare for the journey. And this journey is rarely charted out for us when we set out. God often tells us what he told Abraham, "I'll let you know where you're going when you get there."

When I try to impose my agenda for advancing God's kingdom on others, I end up exhausted and frustrated. But when I seek to collaborate with what God is already doing, I am filled with energy and hope.

If you can wade through my mixed metaphors and conflated examples, I hope you can understand what I'm trying to say.

We can continue to be frustrated trying to fulfill our own mission, or we can abandon our agenda and lose ourselves in the work that God is already doing all around us.

Pastor Rod

"Helping You Become the Person God Created You to Be"

2 comments:

ROD WILLETT said...

I couldn't agree more. If we start "owning" a certain class, for example, then when that class succeeds we are tempted to take the credit. If it fails, we take take it personally. We need to remember it belongs to God. May I never take credit for something that God has blessed!

Pastor Rod said...

Rod,

For me, the key is to remember that it is God's mission, not mine. The results are his problem.

Rod