Monday, June 11, 2018
Philippians 3:12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.
On one of our many church mission trips to the Bayou in Louisiana, we were only 6 miles out of town when someone in the back of the bus asked, “Are we there yet?” It was funny because we had 1200 miles to go.
Arrivals at intended destinations are a funny thing. We anticipate them, enjoy them momentarily when they happen, but then quickly set our sights on the next one. For most of us, life is all about the next destination. We hurry to get there so we can see what’s beyond it. But when we arrived on the bayou we were literally at the end of the road. The only way to go any further was by boat, and we didn’t have one. We had reached our destination and it felt wonderful. We were prepared to get to work and accomplish everything we had planned. Our arrival was fulfilling because there was nowhere else we wanted to be. This was the place to which we had been called, and we had prepared ourselves to arrive. We were going to make the most of this trip.
Six days later we were headed for another destination – home. We reflected on the work we had done and the impact it had on the people living there. We had worked hard and accomplished far more than expected, but when we left we saw so much more that still needed to be done. I had several people ask when we could go back. There was a sense of unsettledness in our hearts because we knew there was more to do. We were not able to fully rest knowing that there was still work to be done.
But there was a sense of relief to be home. The danger of mission trips is the return home to normalcy. We tend to not see the mission field in which we live every day and not work as hard to accomplish God’s work. While on the bayou, we knew people depended on us and the work wouldn’t get done unless we did it. Now that we are home, we are tempted to return to our normal lives where someone else will do the work if we don’t. We act as if getting home is our final destination. We can be enthusiastic about working hard out there somewhere, but at home it’s quite different. While on a mission, complacency is not a temptation. The trouble is that we don’t see home as a mission.
As I contemplate arrivals, I struggle to match my enthusiasm for travel destinations with spiritual destinations. Why are we so easily convinced that we have already arrived at our spiritual bayou? Do we really believe that this is the end of the road of our spiritual growth and that we have nothing more to learn or do? Do we really think we have arrived? Paul reminds us that we are not there yet, and we won’t be until we are in the presence of Christ. Heaven is the final destination. Heaven is our home, and our mission is not complete until we arrive there.
When Jesus Christ took hold of us, He called us to a mission. Throughout Scripture we are given the project list. We have been given certain skills and energy by the Holy Spirit to accomplish God’s intended tasks. Each day the world offers us things that aren’t on the list, and the temptation is to switch priorities from God’s list to ours. We may get so sidetracked that we lose sight of the real destination. We may even stop asking, “Are we there yet?” What a sad day that is. May we never get to that point. Every day we rise we need to realize that we are on a mission trip for God. We must press on to take hold of God’s project list. It is why Jesus took hold of us. Just as we stayed focus on our purpose for the trip to the bayou, we must, now that we are home, continue to stay focused on God’s purpose for putting us in this place at this time.
“Are we there yet?”
NO! But until we are, we will press on to take hold of everything Jesus Christ wanted to accomplish when He took hold of us. Ask Him for your work assignment for today, and get to work! Someday, maybe today, you will arrive at your final destination. It is the place to which you have been called, and there is nowhere else to go once you are there. You will be completely fulfilled when you arrive because you have prepared yourself to be there. The work you do today for Jesus is your preparation for serving Him in eternity. Make the most of the trip.