In our nation’s capitol, on August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his “I Have a Dream” speech.
When the Asian tsunami struck, one of my pastors was in Australia. The massive devastation, the enormous loss of life, prompted some soul searching and resulted in her making five resolutions. Her third resolution was simply stated: obey God more. To illustrate the point, she referred to Jesus’ story of the wise and foolish builders.
24Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” —Matt: 7:24-27 (NIV)
When you obey God, a single set of principles governs your behavior and you become a whole, real whole person. You build on one rock.
When you compartmentalize your life, you act differently around different people. You follow different rules depending on the circumstances. Rather than being one, real person, you are multiple, fake people. (It’s interesting how duplicitous is synonymous with fake.) You don’t build on one rock; you build on a bunch of little rocks. And what is sand, but a bunch of little rocks.
I’ve heard this story explained many times, but this was the first time I’d heard building on the sand be described as being compartmentalized and fake. It spoke to me. Maybe it will speak to you, too.
Do you have a personal mission statement? I don’t. I don’t even write New Year’s resolutions.
I ask because I’m preparing to teach the teen lesson at church tomorrow. The materials I’m studying aim to enable the students to:
- Discern the value of living by well thought-out principles.
- Develop a mission statement that reflects their core values and goals.
- Encourage others to be guided by goals that have eternal outcomes.
The second item and its associated activity caught my attention. If having a mission statement is worth my teaching, it should be worth my doing.
I understand the general principles that direct my life. They are the same principles that guide other Christian’s lives. Is it sacrilegious to say that those Christian principles are not sufficient, that they should be supplemented with a personal mission statement? I hope not. After some thought, it appears there is benefit to a personal mission statement. A personal mission statement can consider my my specific skills and interests. I need not limit my goals to what I can accomplish now. Growth is possible.
I’m not so naive to believe that possessing a personal mission statement will change my life. I’ve worked for various organizations having missions statements with limited impact on their day-to-day operations. The benefit of a mission statement is in its making, in its updating.
Update: This evening, I visited Tod Bolsinger’s blog, “It Takes a Church…,” (about which I blogged yesterday) and clicked on his book, Show Time: Living Down Hypocrisy By Living Out The Faith. On the resulting Amazon.com page was a link to Hugh Hewitt’s book, In, But Not Of: A Guide to Christian Ambition. It’s relevance to my study topic is unmistakable. I was already planning on getting Hewitt’s book, Blog: Understanding the Information Reformation That’s Changing Your World. It looks like another purchase is in order.
Bottom line: There is no more effective, cost efficient, time efficient and growing way to communicate something as important as the truth of Christianity than through a whole hosts of pastors and teachers blogging. And, if Hugh [Hewitt] is correct, this is only the beginning of a whole ‘reformation.’Tod Bolsinger
Tod Bolsinger, pastor and author, encourages other pastors to blog for Jesus.
I hope he’s successful.