Last night Rich and I watched “Windtalkers”, a movie about the Navajo language being used as code during World War II. Nicholas Cage stars as a marine who was assigned the duty of protecting one of the Navajo Code talkers while in battle on the field. I was struck by a phrase in the movie that Sergeant Joe Enders repeatedly said, “We have to complete the mission.” Even under the most horrendous circumstances this was his goal. He would sacrifice all in order to complete the mission.
Lately life has been challenging in many areas. The thought of “completing the mission” has been far from my mind. It’s been more like, let go of the mission. Take the easier road. Life isn’t supposed to be this hard. You’re making it harder than it was intended to be.
There may be some truth in the whole “you’re making it harder than it was intended to be” thing. But letting go of the mission should never be an option.
Jesus set out the mission for us all in very clear terms. We are to “seek first the kingdom and His righteousness.” Matthew 6:33. And we are supposed to keep doing what He has put into our heart to do. No looking back. That’s “putting your hand to the plow.” Luke 9:62.
There’s a lot said in the Bible about God “renewing our strength”, helping us to”not grow weary”. Galatians 6:9. We are told by Jesus we should “ask, seek, and knock” when we pursue Him. The literal translation goes more along this line: “keep on seeking, keep on knocking, keep on asking”. It’s not a one time deal.
Yesterday I was having a conversation with my 19 year old daughter. She was expressing her frustrations with various things in her life. It was kind of like looking in the mirror at the younger me. I remember feeling like my life was in this holding pattern. Go to work, go to school, go to church, go home. Over and over again. Like the movie “Groundhog’s Day”. Same thing every day. Monotony… I told her at one point in the conversation that she needed to get outside of all her frustrations and focus on the one thing that is really needed, her relationship with God. Then the rest of the stuff will come in time. Easy words to say. Not so easy to do, but that is what “completing the mission” really is.
Paul summed it up pretty well in Philippians: “I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 3:10-14 NIV
The big goal in life is not “who has the biggest toys”, “who makes a name for themself”, or as Christians , “Who built the biggest ministry”. It’s “accomplishing the mission” it’s “ taking ahold of that for which Christ has taken ahold of me”. And the whole reason Jesus got ahold of me was not for what I could do. It was for who I am to Him, His beloved. It was because He wanted me to “know Him and the power of His resurrection.”
That is the mission. Knowing Jesus and His power that makes all the dead things in my life alive. If I pursue that, everything else will fall into place. Even the things that seem insurmountable at the present time.