If you’ve ever sent a loved one off to war, you know the feeling of saying ‘good bye.’ The weight of those words are heightened by the knowledge that some people don’t come back from the battlefield. It’s never easy to send a family member off to fight, but it is easier when you believe in the mission. We saw this reality come to the surface during our nation’s outrage over the Vietnam War. The country was in upheaval because they didn’t know what young people were fighting and dying for. The mission was ambiguous and the war seemed unnecessary to some. The nation raged and the people rioted. However, when mothers and fathers sent their kids to fight in World War II, the mood was much different. People knew what they were fighting for and the battle was worth it – human dignity was at stake. When it comes to investment, the mission’s purpose is of the utmost importance.
Jonathan knew what he was fighting for. His enemy was in front of him and his mission was clear. The Philistines had to be defeated. The early church had the same semblance of clarity. They knew they existed because God was on mission. In fact, before the church had a Bible (the New Testament), it had a mission. Before the church had a building, it had a mission. The church doesn’t have a mission, the mission has a church. God was on mission redeeming and restoring his world before the church came into existence. The church is simply his tool to bring the renewal he longs to bring because of the unwavering love he has for his good creation. The early church understood and embraced God’s mission. Their marching orders were clear, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
People who follow Jesus today get the same opportunity to participate with God in his mission. We join in as we love, disciple, and pray for “his kingdom to come and will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Jesus is inviting you and I to join in. He’s inviting us to take our gifts and talents and time to be a part of the kingdom wave he is creating. Our enemies are the forces of evil. Our leader is Jesus. Our weapon is love. Our mission is restoration. Today, take some time and write out a prayer for vision. Ask Jesus to help you see you part in his grand mission. Ask him to reveal to you where he is calling you to step in and how he is asking you to love. Ask him to show you how you are a part of his kingdom wave.
By Ryan Paulson