The arrangement immediately caught my eye and drew me across the room. Other people seemed to be more intent upon their coming and going then they were concerned about the striking visual that caught my attention.
Three dozen or more roses created a focal point in the lobby of the fanciest hotel I’ve ever stayed in. The roses made a bouquet that was, by far, the most beautiful I had ever seen. They were pale pink, edged with shades of darker pink, perfectly exquisite. I leaned forward to breathe in the aroma, and realized, as I inhaled, that there was no scent at all. Upon inspection, I discovered the roses weren’t real. The craftsmanship was beautifully deceiving, but I turned away, disappointed. Maybe everyone else had already discovered the flowers weren’t real and that’s why they didn’t stop to stare…
Mission Statements hang, beautifully framed, in break rooms and conference areas across America. Most people walk by them without a second glance. If they do stop, they often see high dollar words that don’t exist beyond the confines of the frame they’re in. The words sound impressive, but the fragrance of real meaning is non-existent. The words don’t take on life in the actions of the people who work for the organization. As a result, the ownership and purpose people want to have in their work-role is elusive and dis-connect is commonplace. Achievement is handicapped.
A mission that lives and breathes stems from a leader with inspired vision and authentic purpose. The vision is “what,” the purpose is “why,” and the mission is “how.” All should blend together with fluid simplicity: thoughts, ideas and dreams distilled into powerful, livable words. A mission is the action plan. It is meant to be lived. The words are useless without the hearts, hands and feet of the people who can give it life. If it exists only for the eye, it detracts more than it adds. People see it and turn away, disappointed, because it isn’t real.
As a Believer in Jesus Christ, you have a leader who also carries the title Creator of the Universe. God’s vision of how things should be was magnificent in scope and detail. It became real from the breath of His mouth and the power of His words, creation brought to life and set in motion by an all-knowing God. He knew all time before time began. He knew the heart of man before He caused it to beat. He knew our sins before they were committed and He knew the grief and anguish He would suffer when He witnessed His Son die for us. He knew the joy at that moment in time when He brought Jesus back to life, overcoming sin and death.
God has perfect, detailed vision, a loving, merciful and authentic purpose, and a mission driven by His sense of justice and purity. His vision, purpose and mission are expressed most simply in:
John 3:16: (NIV)
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
What (God’s vision): All who believe in Jesus have eternal life and an everlasting Father/child relationship with Him.
Why (God’s purpose): Because He loves us.
How (God’s mission): He gave His Son’s life to pay for our sins, so that we could be with Him eternally. (Do you see how this circles back to the vision?)
What is your mission? It should come from who you serve, just as a waterfall cascades from its source. Missions that don’t flow from the vision often compromise it, and need to be re-directed. Missions that come from a source of wisdom and clarity effervesce with potential.
If you believe in Jesus Christ, then you have a mission. It is one that falls under the Father’s vision, mission and purpose.
Your mission, as a Believer:
Matthew 16:24 (NIV)
Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”
LIVE LIKE YOU BELIEVE. Belief that stays within the confines of your mind does not make a difference in the lives of those around you.
LIVE YOUR MISSION.
Come back to me. We’ll look in detail at how to put hands and feet on the words in Matthew 16:24, so that you can live your mission in Him, and make your life a heartfelt, fragrant offering to the Lord.
* The rose bush in the picture is from a piece of foot-long root stock as thick as my wrist. It was rescued from an abandoned, ramshackle home place, with a bulldozer likely in its future. Once planted in my yard, it sprung shoots that grew with vigor and produced roses with luscious fragrance, authentic to the core.