Years ago, a person who then headed the university system of the state of Georgia visited the community college where I worked. I don’t recall his entire speech, but one nugget of wisdom stuck with me. At the time, I felt a bit discouraged because my students were largely unprepared for college. I was frustrated that my efforts to motivate and help them seemed to be falling short. The chancellor powerfully reminded the faculty and staff that our critical mission was to prepare students for the middle class. Many of our students were from poor socioeconomic backgrounds. Their success in one of our many programs, such as healthcare or computer science, could be their ticket to a more secure future for themselves and their families. We were an important link in the process. A light bulb went on. I finally understood my mission in that setting, and that soothed my soul. The morning after his speech, I proudly declared to my family that I was on my way to help people join the middle class.
Jesus knows that he is meant to spend his life saving the world. The Samaritan woman’s encounter with Jesus was life-changing for her and a significant moment of ministry for him. Jesus uses that moment to teach his disciples about the urgent mission that he wants them to share. After his conversation with the woman at the well, the disciples urge Jesus to join their picnic. He responds by declaring his mission: “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to complete his work” (v. 34). Like the woman at the well and the disciples that Jesus teaches, when we encounter Christ in a meaningful way, we want to be part of God’s mission in the world.
What mission has God invited you to join? What distractions make you lose your focus and what encouragements help you find it again?
God, at times I get confused about my mission in life. Strengthen me and give me energy for the task whenever I am tempted to give up. Amen.