For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God—not the result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are what [God] has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we may walk in them. -Ephesians 2:8-10, NRSVue
In my June 18 sermon, I defined mission as “the good God invites us to do in the world together.” My original version of that definition did not have the word “together” in it because I was thinking in terms of personal vocation – the good God is inviting me to do in the world by myself; the good God is inviting you and each of us to do in the world by ourselves.
This good is not usually something God demands or commands us to do (though sometimes it is); it is an invitation, and I believe God, who knows our hearts, invites us to do good that God has already prepared us to do, or will prepare us to do. Invitations can, of course, be rejected, but I believe God’s invitations will grow us closer to each other and to God.
For some, that invitation is to feed people, but for others it might be teaching, or making wire harnesses, or delivering packages, or creating art, or distributing medication, or engineering, or coaching, or preaching the gospel, or any number of nearly infinite possible ways we humans have found and have yet to find to do good in the world.
But to define “mission” properly for a church, we need to add the word “together” – the good God is inviting us to do in the world together. That doesn’t mean every member of the church has to be directly involved in every mission of the church, but I can’t help but believe God’s invitation for individual church members to do good in the world will find connection with what others individually feel called to do, so we may do those good works together.
What is the good God has invited you to do in the world? And what is the good you believe God might be inviting you to do in the world through your church with other church members and our community?
Rev. David Schell