The Mission of God

Jul 23, 2009

Richard Gotthardt

I’m currently reading an amazing book called The Mission of God by Christopher Wright.  And it’s not just that it’s really thick and makes me feel really smart to carry it around that causes me to like it.  In fact, as weird as this may sound, I spent a couple of hours reading this book the other night and found myself overwhelmed with awe and wonder at our God-the One without peer and without equal.  What is unusual is that this is a theology book- a textbook of sorts- that is building a case (a very strong one) that all of the Bible can be read and understood through the lens of mission.

Here’s how Wright defines our mission: “Our committed participation as God’s people, at God’s invitation and command, in God’s own mission within the history of God’s world for the redemption of God’s creation.” That’s a pretty packed statement, so feel free to read it through a couple of times to let it sink in.  And here is what was such a hugely important reminder to me about it (and more of what he spells out):  The mission belongs to God.  It’s His to initiate, to empower, to lead and direct, to see through to completion, to ensure that the mission is accomplished.

So often I get myself all twisted up inside because I fear that I’m not doing it right, that I need to be doing it differently, better, more effectively.  And while I do want to be wise and discerning, it’s incredibly freeing to realize that success, in God’s Kingdom, is defined as faithfulness, not fruitfulness.  Bearing fruit is God’s work; remaining faithful and staying connected to Jesus is mine- and He even enables that!  But when I embrace the reality that the success of God’s mission is not a burden I have to carry- even in my little corner of His Kingdom- I am freed up to serve and love and even lead more boldly.  I can take risks, put myself out there, knowing that God is the ultimate “responsible party”.

One other great quote from Wright’s book that I really love, because it reframes mission through a beautiful lens.  First, he reminds us that praise- seeing God for who He is and celebrating Him, worshiping Him- is essential.  “The praise of the church is what energizes and characterizes it for mission, and also serves as the constant reminder that we so much need, that all our mission flows as obedient response to and participation in the prior mission of God.”  And then this: “Mission means inviting all the peoples of the earth to hear the music of God’s future and dance to it today.”  Isn’t that amazing!

Let’s hear that music ourselves… and let’s dance!

Richard’s Ramblings

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