What’s my real mission statement?
The past few sermons have knocked me rather off-balance. I think this is a good thing, if not entirely a comfortable one. Let me tell you about them.
On October 4, we looked at Mark 12:28-31, where the legal professional asks Jesus which command is the most important. Jesus answers with two of them: Love God; love your neighbor. Matthew 22:38-39 has: “This (i.e., love the Lord your God) is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (parenthesis added) Our preacher pointed out that before Jesus, no one juxtaposed those two commandments like that.
But more importantly, he challenged us to consider what it means to love your neighbor. What should someone do, how much should they be involved if their teenaged nephew, say, has been making some really bad decisions? He’s not their kid, after all. The challenge is this: “If I were this boy’s mother or father, how would I want my relative to be involved with us?”
This is a challenge! If I had lost my home due to flooding or earthquake or landslide, how would I want someone to come alongside me?
Closer to home, here’s a challenge to me: odd fellow on the train. Rather than being annoyed with him, the easy thing for me to do is just walk on by and sit in another car. Why would it be so hard to just sit nearby and be friendly toward him? He gets off at the 3rd stop, so it’s not like my train ride would be taken over or anything.
I don’t always get to the station the same time he does, but when I do, I could be kinder to him; I could treat him more like the neighbor that he actually is.
Then on October 11, the question arose: what’s my real mission statement? Is it “Love God, love people, serve the world”? Or is it something more like “Take care of your kids, get ahead, build your 401(k)”?
Note that the challenge isn’t necessarily an exhortation to neglect your kids or career, but rather a question about the primary factors, the driving force. What do my checkbook and my calendar say? What would my wife, my colleagues, my boss, my children, my neighbors say?
I think their answers would be mixed. What should you or I do? I don’t think that the answer is “well, quit your job and divest your 401(k)” — at least, not for most of us. But speaking for myself (i.e., not for you) I need to make a conscious effort and take concrete steps to serve others. Some comments about this are in the October 4 study guide, on page 2. I hope you’ll have a look at it.
Meanwhile, several of us had a good time serving at CityTeam last night. Not that I have this wired, or that we’re done with regard to balancing our lives, but I need to figure out my next steps around this. Should I make this a more regular part of my life? Or something else?
May the Lord guide us as we consider our next steps.