I talk a lot about putting money ‘on mission’ and being mission-minded. Often that brings up the fair question of “what’s a mission?” or more importantly “what’s MY mission?”
Followers of Christ, like anybody else, can fall into a trap of a purposeless, wandering existence. But unlike everyone else, follower’ of Christ, have a source of purpose in Jesus Christ. The problem: They don’t know what that purpose is.
Some Christians walk around like ‘sleeper cells’ just waiting to be ‘activated’ by God. But the call never comes.
Others hold on to grandiose ‘callings’ to be a missionary, or artist or business owner, without taking the first steps towards the training or equipping needed for the mission. Because God is going to ‘do it in His timing’.
And the saddest condition of all is when Christ followers think that their purpose centers around their service to their local church. They satisfy themselves with a calling to be a Sunday School teacher, coffee bar attendant or usher.
The catch to living missionally is if our focus is on the mission instead of the savior, we miss the mission altogether. Hearing a call to a specific mission only comes from living missionally. If you’re waiting to live on mission until you ‘get one’ you’ll never start.
What Has God Called Me To?
In one of my favorite Francis Chan talks, he tells a story of sitting on the beach asking the question every high school or college graduate asks. What now Lord? Who am I? What is the purpose of my life?
What Francis Chan hears is not “become a mega-church pastor”, “write a book”, “be a thought leader”. He hears God almost mock him for the over simplicity of his question.
Living on mission isn’t about what you DO, it’s about who you BECOME.
My goal, as I pursue a mission of evangelism, or justice or creation, is not that I would win a lot of souls, eradicate poverty or create the best books, art or videos. My goal is that I would become increasingly more like Christ.
And I can start doing that before I have a ‘mission’.
If you are waiting around for Jesus to ‘call you’ to spread good news, show kindness towards the down and out or to use your creative ability to glorify God instead of yourself, you are going to be waiting a long time.
Being a Christ follower means, I don’t know….Following Christ? So, if this is what we call ourselves then we need to begin doing what we see him doing, now. We already have the instructions.
“Come, Follow me” is the first mission, the first instruction to every believer. If we can’t complete Mission One, why would we think there would be a mission two?
But Don’t I Have a Purpose?
One of the most important concepts to Mission Minded Money is that God has created good works for you and I to do before the creation of the world (Ephesians 1:4, 2:10).
God uniquely designed us to rule and reign with him in a perfect creation. After the evil one usurped creation with a lie, Jesus came on the scene and began displacing the darkness as he brought his Kingdom. Our unique design became tasked with the displacement of darkness as we join Jesus. Those unique traits created in you in creation are the areas and themes of the darkness that you are tasked with displacing.
But Christians look for the theme before they respond to the call.
Christians want to see the map of their life before they step out onto God’s mission for the moment. And that, like so many other things in Christian money, is bonkers!
You are likely not going to see your life’s work until your life is nearly over.
Although, many people are called to thematic missions or equipped with unique giftings, many times these unique traits can only be identified as you look BACK on all the missions you have been involved in.
A Mission isn’t a task, it’s a lifestyle.
A Burning Bush Moment
Christians often wait around for a ‘burning bush’ moment.
“When God calls me, then I’ll go.” And since they don’t ‘hear the call’ this leaves them plenty of time to sock money into their savings account, purchase things that satisfy their temporary longings, and generally worry about themselves.
But what they forget is that Moses was around 80 years of age when he was ‘called’.
Before God called him to free his chosen people, Moses leaned into his mission:
- He obviously watched the Israelites slaves work at some frequency
- He was angered by oppression to the point of murdering an Egyptian
- He left the avarice of living in Pharaoh’s palace
- He fought off Shepherd’s who tried to mistreat his wife-to-be
Moses hated injustice, refused to use his power and privilege for his own advantage and instead used his position or power to fight for the oppressed. All before God told him to ‘free his people’.
This is the man you want leading a nation of slaves.
Moses had the option to grow up in Pharoh’s house and build wealth. To wring his hands at the plight of his brothers and sisters but to stay safe and comfortable in the lap of luxury.
But he didn’t.
He began to lean into his mission and ran into the wilderness and this is where God found him.
Every one I know who has had a ‘burning bush’ moment, was already living missionally when the call came.
How Do I Start Living on Mission?
It’s really easy to talk theoretically, theologically and hypothetically. And even I, as a pastor, am probably guilty of preaching too many concepts and too few practical steps. If you’ve made it this far into this article, you likely want to start living on mission but you don’t know how.
Living on mission doesn’t have to be complicated. Because it’s not some grandiose calling or some burdensome obligation, it’s just taking one step at a time.
Get the Money Moving
Dial up your giving to the next level. If you don’t give to your local church, start. If you give but don’t tithe, start giving 10% of your gross income to the local church.
If you tithe faithfully, find someone who is in need, or already on mission and commit some money their direction.
The Bible says that ‘where your treasure is there your heart will also be.’ (Matthew 6:21) Our hearts follow our money. If you want to find your mission, step one is to get your money on mission.
Want to find money for your mission? Get my Mission Minded Money Worksheet below.
Join Someone Else’s Mission
If you know someone who lives a mission-oriented life, join them in their mission. Remember, the first step towards getting a mission is to live on mission.
Living on mission with someone who is certain of theirs is a great way to experience missional living, while also getting an idea of how they found their ‘call’. You’ll likely find out it found them.
Ask to join them as they serve the poor, visit the prison, lead a Bible study or pray for the sick.
Watch how they interact with people, how their heart is moved by the people their serving and how they talk about Jesus. You’ll find someone who’s heart is in tune with the heart of God, who’s life is oriented around others and who’s compassion and vision drives them each day.
Make What You’re Doing Missional
When people think of a life on mission, they often think about adding something to their life. Life is fast-paced. It feels impossible to add another ‘obligation’. But you don’t have to add anything!
You probably are already doing things that could have a missional component if you just paid attention.
Are you a mom who has to run errands with your kids? Is there a teenage neighbor who needs a role model? Another mom that could join you? Or a neighborhood widow or handicap that you could grab groceries for while you’re out?
Are you a business executive who could mentor an at-risk kid over lunch once a month? Who could teach entrepreneurs in the inner city or could invest in the visions of your employees?
Are you a musician or artist who could teach an instrument or medium to under-privileged kids?
Could you get coffee with an immigrant once a week just to talk so they can practice their English?
What are you already doing? Or do you enjoy doing that you could invite someone else into?
I like to do group activities. Sporting events, card games, and team sports.
I began arranging a monthly ‘guys night out’ with some of my friends.
I’ve turned these gatherings into mission, as I’ve been intentional about inviting the friendless, the godless and the misfit into our group. It’s sad how many people live lonely lives with no one to come to when they are having a hard time.
I simply turned a monthly bowling or poker night into a safe space for guys to get together and build supportive relationships. And I have a ton of fun!
This is something I would do for fun anyways. But when I invite people in my life who I want to be a supportive friend to, I invite my other friends to do the same. Over time, these guys have made connections outside the group and have developed relationships with people in varying places in their faith journey. These relationships put me in a position to be the presence of God in many of their lives.
The Mission is Where Life Is
Life is short. But it’s shorter if you live it for yourself.
Jesus words are true ‘He who tries to preserve his life will lose it’.(Matthew 16:25)
Do you want your life to go by as you ‘wait’ for your ‘burning bush’ moment? Or do you want to start living a life on mission, displacing the darkness in the world around you, healing the hearts of the people you meet?
Before you can have Mission Minded Money. You have to decide you want to live on mission.
The problem with Christian Financial Advice today is that it teaches you to get what YOU want out of life. But the Bible says that’s the surest way to lose.
“Winning’ with money isn’t a number. It isn’t a net worth or an income. It’s not even a ‘happiness’ level.
Winning with money is deploying what you have to accomplish your created purpose.
Your ‘mission’ isn’t ‘one thing’. Your mission is a lifestyle.
Growing in relationship with Jesus and better understanding your purpose begins with stepping into the story of Jesus with what you have right now. It doesn’t begin with a ‘burning bush’ moment where God, in his best James Earl Jones voice instructs you what to do.
Too many Christians fall asleep at the wheel waiting for their purpose to ‘start’. But a mission isn’t discovered in the waiting room, it’s discovered on the battlefield.
Deploy your money towards something that matters, join someone on the mission they are on, add a missional component to something you are already doing, and continue to listen. You’ll find as you begin on mission Jesus will call your heart closer to your unique design.
Don’t preserve your money or your life for a future that will never come.
Get. On. Mission.
Want to get on Mission, but not sure where to start? Send me an email, let’s start a conversation.