Family Mission Statement – Part 1: Believe
We talk fairly often about our Family Mission Statement on our blog because for us, this really was THE turning point of our family living out our values. Not to say we didn’t prior, but how were we to tell if we didn’t have a clear definition of what our values were? You often hear it said that in order to get to where you want to be you have to clearly define the end goal or you’ll never know when you’ve reached it. That is exactly what a mission statement is. It becomes the lens, filter, and template that all of life gets vetted through.
We wanted to take the next several weeks to start at the top and give a little more volume to the individual components of our mission statement. Not necessarily because our values should be your values. But, in the hope that as we explain the origins of our values that you may be inspired by the things we hold most near and dear to our heart. And, that you may feel compelled to write your own mission statement, which we plan to share some wisdom on in the future. This week, we are going to break our first sentence in half and tackle, “We are followers of Jesus Christ and because of His sacrifice for us…”
I completely get that religion, faith, spirituality… whatever you want to call it, is one of those areas that is really difficult to share openly about. Understandable. But, it is also a subject that is fascinating and holds many of life’s biggest questions. Is there a God? What is God like? Are there many gods? If God exists, what does he expect from me? What happens when we die?
I’m not going to answer all these questions. But, one in particular I want to call into mind. Eternity. When considering sustainability, perhaps there is no greater topic to give attention to. Think about it, coming from the assumption that this life determines our eternal destiny, would eternity not become our top pursuit in this life? Our life now is just a blip compared to billions of years and beyond in eternity.
If sustainability causes us to consider our footprint and impact on this world for future generations then is it possible that eternal thinking is the highest form of sustainability?
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1
Followers of Jesus
There’s no mistaking from our mission statement that we are of the Christian faith and Jesus Christ is assuredly the cornerstone of that faith. One of my favorite books of the Bible is the book of Acts that traces the stories of his closest followers after Jesus was crucified. A side of the story we don’t often hear or consider is that when Jesus was taken off the cross and put in the tomb his followers really did what you would expect any normal person to do; they were scared, laid low, and hid from the public. Their leader they had just spent years of their life following who promised them eternal life was all of the sudden gone and dead. Like anyone else.
But Jesus, while alive, promised them something they did not quite understand; that he would rise from the dead. I can’t offer hard, physical proof that this is what happened. But recorded history does show that of his 12 closest followers, 11 went on to die for telling people about Jesus, his resurrection, and that eternal life resides in him alone. I find this compelling because for me, I can think of no other logical explanation for their inexplicable turnaround other than Jesus did what he said he would. He rose from the dead. His followers saw it. And they believed. Even to the point of death.
“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13
There is this thing called the gospel. If you’ve spent time around Christians you’ve probably heard the word. It means “good news.” We mention the sacrifice Jesus made for us in our mission statement and by this we are referring to Jesus dying on the cross. So why is this good news?
This is a question that for me personally took some time to come to terms with. I like to believe the best in people, including myself. There’s nothing wrong with this, but it caused me for much of my life to view myself as inherently good along with most of the world around me. But how was I to ever know if I was good enough? If ultimately, my time, decisions, thoughts, endeavors… my life on this earth determined my eternal fate, how would I know my true end here and now?
Around high school/college age, with that question spinning in my brain, I heard a message for the first time that told me I had gotten it wrong about myself. The first part was that I had taken my own view of wrong and right, good and evil, applied it to myself, and not surprisingly most always came out on the winning end. But Jesus taught things a bit different; all people had missed the mark – not just a little, but A LOT – and by default are eternally separated from God, who is entirely good, just, loving, and perfect.
I needed to understand the bad news of my sinful (broken) state before God before understanding the good news of his son, Jesus. See God didn’t just leave us eternally forgotten and fending for ourselves. He offered a path. Jesus came to die for the whole world and in doing so took our sin upon himself and gave us his perfection – his good standing with God. It was an exchange. An eternal exchange. And best of all, Jesus died to make eternity free for all. He said all you have to do is believe.
“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” John 1:12-13
When faced with this very reality of Jesus’ teaching, C.S. Lewis in his book, Mere Christianity, puts together a pretty simple yet profound stream of logic when considering our options. He reasons that there are only three possible responses: Liar, Lunatic, or Lord.
- Liar – There is no doubt that Jesus existed and stirred up much of human history. But did he, or his followers, lie about what is recorded of him? Given that Jesus, along with many of his followers were killed for holding to what they taught and believed, lying would make more sense as an easy way out for them. If what they did proclaim was a lie they had nothing to gain from it.
- Lunatic – This would lend toward Jesus truly believing he were who he said he was while being ignorant to the truth himself. No doubt Jesus would have been a charismatic leader, and if he truly believed he were the son of God while being mentally incapable of knowing the truth, this point could hold serious merit.
- Lord – This assumes Jesus was telling the truth and of a right mind. This assumes all his supernatural feats happened. This assumes Jesus was who he said he was – God’s son – born as a man – Lord of all.
“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6
A final thought to leave you with then is that if Jesus is truly Lord of this life, and the next, then this changes EVERYTHING! We have come to the point in our lives where sustainability and being followers of Jesus are intertwined. There is no separating the two. Our mission statement starts with our faith because all else flows out of it. If removed, the rest crumbles. As the Apostle Paul put it, “To live is Christ.”
So consider eternity, consider Jesus, and consider the options above. What does that mean for you? We completely realize that being wrong about all this is totally possible. That’s where faith comes in. We believe each day we are making eternal investments, which is what we plan to talk more about next time!
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20