Daily D – Psalm 57:2
I cry out to God Most High, to God who will fulfill his purpose for me. PSALM 57:2 (NLT)
Jake and Elwood, the Blues Brothers, were on a mission from God. At least, that’s the way they told it. It makes for an entertaining movie. It is not unusual to hear people talk about living on mission or living a life full of purpose. Sometimes people talk about finding and following their passion. That makes good talk-show fodder, but it doesn’t really add much value to a person’s life or those he or she works with or relates to.
For example, I am a passionate baseball fan. I love good pitching, hitting, fielding, and base running. I love managers who know how to pull all the right strings to place the right player in the right spot at the right time. However, I will never play Major League Baseball. I will never pitch in the bottom of the ninth in the seventh game of the World Series with two outs, bases loaded, and the best hitter in baseball at the plate. I will never stand at the plate in that same situation.
I am passionate, but I do not have the ability necessary for those roles. Honestly, how many fifty-eight-year-old men do you know who are excelling in the major leagues? You do not need fingers to count them. There are not any. Not only do I not have the ability to accompany my passion, but even if I did, this is not my context. As much as I love baseball, I do not immerse myself in the game at that level. I want entertainment, not work. I want to enjoy the feats of agility and strength of some of the best athletes in the world. I do not want to have to live up to the demands of their lifestyles every day. I have a different mission.
The words mission, vision, and purpose get used interchangeably. Mission and purpose mean the same thing. Vision is different. Jake and Elwood’s mission was to save the Catholic orphanage where they grew up. They needed five thousand dollars to pay the taxes owed by the orphanage. The movie is a comedy, not a tragedy, so you know how it ends. How they get to the end is the entertaining part. If these were real-life characters, the question to follow the completion of their mission would be, “What’s next?”
If we think of mission or purpose as one event or one destination, what happens when you arrive? That is where vision comes in. Vision is a moving picture, not a single daring destination. If we look at our lives three or five years into the future and under God’s leadership describe what we see, what happens when we arrive? Is it all over like the end of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off when he tells everyone to go home?
The best mission and vision planning understands there are things only God can foresee. There are events and interruptions and opportunities we cannot conceive. Some things become clearer only with time and activity.
David Who Was Not Yet King was running from King Saul. David had been anointed as the next king. He knew his destiny. The vision was clear. The mission was to stay alive so that he could live to see that vision fulfilled. Saul had an army. David had a loyal rabble. Saul and his men were well supplied. David and his men made do with what they had or could earn along the way.
David teaches us how to live on mission in service of the greater vision. He did what he could do and he depended on God to do what only he could do. What did he do?
- He prayed.
- He depended on God.
- He celebrated God for who he is.
I cry out to God Most High, to God who will fulfill his purpose for me.
When David says, “I cry out,” he is praying the kind of prayer opposite what we were taught to pray as children at bedtime, “Now I lay me down to sleep.” “Cry out” is urgent praying. It is gut-level praying. It is the kind of prayer recognizing divine intervention as the only way out. Alongside the urgency was confidence. “God will fulfill his purpose for me.” David recognized a chapter is not a book. The end of this story would look much different from this adventure along the way.
In the middle of what we know as v. 3, there is an interlude. This is where the guitar solo goes. When the vocals return, David says, “My God will send forth his unfailing love and faithfulness.” Two things David knew to be true about God. His love never fails. He is always perfectly aligned to finish what he starts.
What does your life look like three years from now? What’s your story? How will you live on mission day by day to turn that vision into reality?
In this season where we are at danger at the grocery store, in danger at the hardware store, in danger on the walking trails, what remains true and good and lasting? Like David, we can affirm God’s never-ending love and his enduring faithfulness. How was David able to survive on the run for so long? Because he knew there was more to his story. Because he knew God was bigger than Saul. Because he had a mission and a vision given by God which kept him focused. He could survive on the run because God had prepared him for this.
God has been preparing us for this season all of our lives. This is the time when we are revealed to the world for who we really are. No one of us can do everything to save us from this modern plague. Each one of us has a role to play, a contribution to make, and like David, a prayer to pray. This is the time for everyone to see the benefits of working together to lead, to serve, and to protect our families and others.
Of course, none of this is more than lovely sentiment if it’s not true. If David had been a teenage pop star singing of puppy love, we could rightly discard it. How kind it is of God to preserve David’s story at all its stages to help us see the bigger truths beyond today’s events. How good it is of God to give us a vision of what can be and a mission to make it happen.
What’s your mission? If God gave it, he will turn your efforts into a beautiful reality helping to fulfill his greater story of redemption, healing, hope, and everlasting joy.
I will live on mission leaning toward the clarifying vision God gives as I go along the way.
Our Father, fulfill your purpose for my life. Lead me by your unfailing love. Lead me by your faithfulness. Align me and attune me to these unending realities. I want to live the maximum expression of all you ever dreamed for me. Empower me for these days to help people see how good you are. Amen.
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2 Timothy 2:3-6 Endure suffering along with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. Soldiers don’t get tied up in the affairs of civilian life, for then they cannot please the officer who enlisted them. And athletes cannot win the prize unless they follow the rules. And hardworking farmers should be the first to enjoy the fruit of their labor. (NLT)