my journey – part 40

Why are we here?
What’s the meaning to all of this?

A lot of people look for things to give their lives meaning. They search high and low and in all sorts of funny places, looking for something that can give some reason and order and meaning to their lives.

Some search for meaning through success. They work and work. They struggle and claw their way to the top, thinking that if they can finally be the best at something, maybe their life will be fulfilled.

Some search for meaning through knowledge. They learn and learn. They embrace the ideals of the student, always seeking and questioning, turning over every hidden stone, hoping that in their studies, maybe their life will be fulfilled.

Some search for meaning through clubs and positions. They meet and meet. They go to great lengths to meet people and greet people and make sure that they know the right people hoping that through their titles and connections, maybe their life will be fulfilled.

Paul writes

“Christ’s love compels us . . .

he died for all,
that those who live
should no longer live for themselves
but for him who died for them
and was raised again.”

It’s somewhat ironic this particular entry came up right now, so I’ve decided to go ahead and comment on it.

Tomorrow night, our group is going to discuss our purpose and goals for ourselves and the church. While I’ve thought about it some this week, I think what the answer really comes down to is that our purpose is to be about our Master’s business. In other words, though “What Would Jesus Do?” is a phrase that became a buzzword for the evangelical-youth-group culture of the late 90’s, it really does, I think, encompass what we’re called to. Our disagreements, primarily, are about what Jesus would do, as opposed to whether or not we should follow Him.

As a quick note, I think this way of taking things is strikingly different from someone who would say that our mission is to “Go unto all the world…” First, I would submit that there are very few people who actually do “Go unto all the world…” on a regular basis – in other words our purpose and mission can’t be simply about the ideals we set up for ourselves, but rather what we actually do. It would be nice if each of us really embodied “The Great Commission”, but in reality I don’t think most of us could say with any degree of honesty that we’re about that idea in our daily lives. Second, however, and more importantly, I think “Go unto all the world…” really falls short of speaking to the vast majority of situations in our lives. “Preaching the Good News and teaching others to obey all I’ve commanded you” is something that can be done with a microphone and a clever marketing campaign – it doesn’t necessarily require anything of us in our daily lives. It doesn’t say how we treat people we don’t like, or how we interact with others – it only deals with us preaching and teaching others. It doesn’t specify how to do that, and frankly doesn’t rule out force, bribes, or any other method. I think, perhaps, the “Go unto all the world…” way of looking at things is the root of our fascination with legislating our morality on others – after all, if we can just make them do the right things … Unfortunately, I don’t think that from the world the message we offer in this manner is really all that “good” – I’ve very rarely met non-believers who feel like mainstream Christianity has any “good news” to offer at all – much less *the* Good News.

I think Jesus speaks well to what his mission is as he speaks for the first time in his home town:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
for he has appointed me to preach Good News to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim
that captives will be released,
that the blind will see,
that the downtrodden will be freed from their oppressors,
and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.”

How we live that is an open question, but I feel if we truly live like Jesus, the Great Commission will follow.

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