Those who train missionaries in preparing for difficult circumstances (such as kidnapping or being trapped in unwanted situations) say that it’s important for the person to have a strong reason for persevering, if they are to survive. Those who have been through such things often report that it was the hope of seeing loved ones again that kept them going. Unless there is a purpose for living, there is a no point in going on, and survival becomes a slim possibility.
This week is a good time for us to reflect on our purpose for living, as individual followers of Jesus, and as his body here in Melbourne. I don’t know what gets you out of bed in the morning – the smell of coffee, the need to pay down the mortgage, the assignment that is due in today, screaming kids, people who are dependent on you being there for them, etc, etc. There can be all sorts of reasons that propel us into the next bit of our lives.
For Jesus, there was no doubt about his purpose in life. To seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10), …to give his life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45) are very clear statements of Jesus’ intention and purpose. It translated into very specific actions – setting his face to go to Jerusalem, where He knew that He would give his life to redeem his people; suffering the humiliation and abandonment of the cross; being obedient and faithful to death. He did all this to open up the way for people to be forgiven and come back to God.
If this is what drove the Lord Jesus, it follows that his apprentices/imitators/disciples will have the same purpose. Sure, we can’t die to pay for people’s sins, as Jesus did. But we can give of ourselves and our resources so that people can hear about what He has done to rescue them. And that is what He has commanded us to do. To go and make disciples. It’s a great responsibility and an awesome privilege.
This week is a great time for us to re-calibrate our life-direction and purpose. As we engage with the talks, global partners and their reports this week, most of all let’s prayerfully engage with God and his purposes for us and the resources he has entrusted us with.