In Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey asserts that everyone should have a purpose statement in life. This is the 2rd habit “Start with the end is mind.” Its about defining the word ‘important’ for your life. The 3rd habit, “put first things first,” asserts that if you have a standard for what is really important in your life then you can use that to determine how should should spend your time and money.
My life group has been reading through 1 Timothy, a book filled with advice for a younger man from his mentor. In chapter 3 the Apostle Paul outlines the qualifications for church leaders and one of them is that they be ‘temperate.’ One commentator points out that later on Paul says ‘not given to drunkenness’ so its unlikely that he means the same with his use of ‘temperate.’ The same commentator suggested that the word would be better translated as “vigilant.” The Message paraphrase goes as far as to use the phrase “cool and collected.” These may seem like unrelated terms, but where I see them all connected its this: To be temperate, vigilant or cool and collected, you must be purposeful and therefore prepared. The key to this is know what’s important – know the mission so you can be vigilant, so you can be collected, so you can know what to temper towards. Its about personal leadership.
My lifegroup also recently read the book Wild at Heart by John Eldridge. I read it for the first time when it was first released ten years ago, so it was interesting to return to the book now as an adult. The authors argues that men in the church have become ‘nice guys’ when they’re actually called to be dangerous men of God who seek some kind of adventure. I don’t agree with every point in Eldredge’s book, but with this I agree whole heartedly. Consider Matthew 25, the parable of the talents: The risk-taking servants were rewarded. God doesn’t want us burying our riches in the back yard.
If the mission is about personal leadership, then the adventure is about personal vision. And as we know proverbs 29:18 says ‘Where there is no vision, the people perish.’ A more literal translation of this verse is ‘where there is no prophesy, the people cast of restraint.’ This may sound like a totally different message but it isn’t; both translations mean – when you stop seeking God’s perfect will for your life, you won’t get God’s perfect will for your life.
So I thought it was about time that I defined a few things: My mission and my adventure.
Its difficult, but I think I managed to get it down to one statement:
My mission is to find creative ways to disciple christians and communicate the gospel using film, theater, photography and teaching.
This will change over the years, I’m sure. At the very least I hope to add in the word “lead” and then “mentor others” in the future as my role changes, but for now I think this gets to the central message of it.
Part of the difference between the mission and the adventure is the fact that it is not a simple statement. After all, if you can express it in just a few words, how adventurous can it be? (Unless one of those words is “flamethrower”) Using both scripture and the desires I believe God has placed on my heart, this how I see my adventure at this point in my life.
I seek to accomplish everything I do – through arts, through teaching, through relationships with others – to the glory of the one true God. I seek to chase after God and His will for my life in such a way that others might say of me ‘If the gospel isn’t true, Will has totally wasted his life.” I seek to push myself spiritually, mentally and even physically, pouring it all out as a praise offering to God. I want to visit other parts of the world for the purposes of spreading the Good News and collecting stories to bring back home to tell others so that a desire for missions might awake in their hearts. I seek to live a pure and holy life that inspires others to do that same. I seek to have the kind of selfless, contented confidence that the disciples had, that others might say “He has truly been with Jesus.”
I seek to have a network of friends with whom I can share life who want to join me on my adventures – who hold me accountable and support me when I’m down. I seek to prepare the next generation so that when it is no longer my place to lead or work that there will be others, even more capable, who will take my place. I seek to have lived such a full life that when I am old, young men will say of me “I hope that I will one day be as used up, so I might have equally amazing stories to tell.” I seek to live such that when I am gone that the world around me won’t miss a beat – they’ll merely shed a single tear for the temporary loss of my company, but then smile with the knowledge that I carried the torch as long as was needed and that they’ll see me again one day – carrying on the task that God gave me. Carrying it to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Hallelujah, praise the Lord!
This is my adventure – you can’t have it. Though yours may look similar, it might have more specifics than mine as God’s vision for your life might be clearer. I suspect as I live my adventure that it will become more specific.
Now its your turn
So, whats your mission? What’s your adventure?