What is the Mission? How to Avoid Failure
As a young adult I got a valuable piece of advice. Since the advice came in a humorous form, it has stuck in my mind all these years. I have shared it many times and have tried to follow it (haven’t always been successful!). What I was told isn’t the #1 way to avoid failure. However, it will connect us and here it is:
Learn from the mistakes of others. No one has time to make all the mistakes themselves!
Identify your mission. As Christians, we have many. We want to have success at things like:
- Church leadership
- Sharing the Gospel
Was that last one not your radar screen? God’s Word instructs us on each of the items above. Each has mission assignments. How do we succeed?
Learning From Others
An incident from Abraham’s life shows us the #1 way to avoid failure. Since my work is all about sharing the Gospel, I’ll apply it to that mission. However, God’s truth always seems to transcend categories and boundaries. What we can learn from Abraham will certainly be applicable to whatever mission you find yourself following.
Subtle Path to Failure
Our enemy is cunning a crafty. He can blindside us before we know it. In Genesis 14 Abraham faced such a temptation. Let’s see if you can spot it:
Abraham had just won a great military victory. He had rescued some of his family as well as the king of Sodom. So where’s the temptation? Where is the key to avoiding failure?
Abraham had been prepared for this moment of temptation. He had just left Melchizedek, priest of the Most High God. Based on the book of Hebrews, I think Melchizedek was a pre-incarnate apprearance of Jesus. Abraham worshiped and gave Him an offering. Lesser beings prevented such things by Daniel and others. Think about it. The king of Sodom stands in contrast to Mechizedek.
So what’s the temptation? It’s the same one you face every day. Let me translate it just a little bit:
- Get all you can!
- The one with the most toys wins!
- Go for the gusto!
- If it feels good, do it!
- Life is all about the stuff & the bling!
- THOSE PEOPLE ARE UNIMPORTANT!!!
See it now? Abraham didn’t fail, but he could have. We can learn from a mistake he didn’t make. No matter our mission, our focus is not the STUFF or ourselves. Sometimes I find myself leading mission volunteers who are so focused on the tasks of mission they don’t realize their mission is the people! The work (the stuff) is just a vehicle through which we love others. And isn’t that also true in marriage, parenting, leadership, and careers? When we lose sight of that, we fail at any mission we have.
Answer to Mission Success
So, whatever your mission, do what Abraham did:
Worship and focus on the people rather than the stuff