I have always loved that part in Carol’s Alice in Wonderland, when Alice asks the Cheshire Cat for directions on which way to go. “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,’ replied the cat. When Alice responds that she doesn’t much care where, the Cheshire Cat retorts wisely: “Then it doesn’t much matter which way you go.”
Destination determines direction.
What is your mission in life? What is the ultimate direction your life is heading towards?
That is a life-defining question that we Christians seldom (or never) ponder. But as disciples of Jesus, it is beholden on us to know what on earth God has put us here for – i.e. our specific vocation and calling, and to be obedient and fulfilled in it for His glory.
But the word ‘mission’ itself can be a scary one for many Christians. For many, it conjures up images of being sent, often against our will, to far off lands to share to unresponsive or even hostile natives the good news of Jesus, perhaps ending up as someone’s supper!
We think it is a job for few special people or a committee of the church. Mission is for the super-committed Christian who is ready to give up the comforts of his everyday life for the privations of some higher calling.
Such a dichotomy is plainly unbiblical. To be a genuine Christian is to be a disciple of Christ (Luke 9:23). And to be a disciple involves becoming a participant in God’s great mission to reach the ends of the earth with the Gospels and to make disciples of all nations (Acts 1:8, Matthew 28:19). We are all called to cross the street where we live as disciples on mission. A few of us are called to also cross the seas. The question is whether we will obey or not.
In Scripture, ‘mission’ is a comprehensive descriptor of God’s desire and purpose to redeem a people for Himself, for whom He will be their sovereign God and they will be His devoted people. (Genesis 17:7; Exodus 6:7; Jeremiah 31:33, 32:38; Ezekiel 37:27; 2 Corinthians 6:16 and principally Revelation 21:3).
At the same time, it also demarcates the whole scope of activities that God initiates engages in the world for His great end i.e. the spread of His kingdom rule to the ends of the earth through the victory and salvation wrought on the cross of the resurrected Christ.
As Christian Wright so eloquently in his book, ‘The Mission of God’s People’, ‘mission’ must by definition encompass not only the ‘sent-ness’ of Christ as God’s Messiah into the world, and His people with Him, but includes everything we are, do and say in relation to that purpose and mission of God’s renewal and rescue of a lost and dying world to himself. It must therefore involve all of our lives.
Against an increasingly intrusive global culture that breeds distraction, doubt, despair and narcissism and leads us in all the wrong directions, the Gospel is the only right way to go.
That God may be known by us and through us to others – for His great glory, that is the end. This is true mission, worth living and dying for.
 Christopher J. Wright, The Mission of God’s People (Michigan: Zondervan, 2010).