At HOPE International, we seek to help others find a dignified path out of extreme poverty and, in the process, be reconciled to God eternally. But as important as this calling is, the Holy Spirit has repeatedly shown us how crucial it is that the greatest commandment to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength” come first in our personal lives and organizational identity. Independent of anything we do for God or others, union with Christ must come first.
A few years ago, Gordon MacDonald wrote a helpful article titled “The Dangers of Missionalism.” In it, he defines missionalism as “the belief that the worth of one’s life is determined by the achievement of a grand objective.” The key idea here is “worth.” Now most of us know better than to say that we should base our worth on what we do for God, but that doesn’t always make it easy to avoid this subtle trap.
In Philippians 3, Paul explains in beautiful language that everything in his life was “counted as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus [his] Lord.” He experienced something with Christ that was so compelling, so life-changing, everything else paled in comparison. This connection was the driving force in his life of mission and fruitfulness. But sadly, we can easily find ourselves disconnected from Christ, busy doing many things for Him but missing the vitality and power that only He can bring.
So in an effort to assess where we are with this, let’s consider three reflection questions:
DeVern Fromke sums this up nicely in his book Ultimate Intention: “Christ, who becomes our life, will not allow us to pursue divine purposes in our own power. We are not called to production but to participation in His life and pursuits.”
May we find our life and worth in Him today and then, in joy, do all that He has prepared in advance for us to do.