Living The Mission – Prologue and Invitation
Before he was coronated King of All Things, Jesus of Nazareth, the last King of the Jews, offered his apprentices a metaphor to explain who he was and what he was up to. “The kingdom of the heavens,” he said, “is similar to a bit of yeast which a woman took and hid in half a bushel of dough. After a while all the dough was pervaded by it.”
How are things going in your world? Have you watched the news lately? I don’t recommend it. Not because it is inherently depressing; rather, because its absurdity and artificiality are overwhelming. It calls itself the news and then does everything in its power to avoid delivering newsworthy information. Ironic, huh?
What’s the word on the street? How are things going? How is ‘progress’ progressing? In a world where leading ethical minds suggest that pets have greater rights than babies, that the elderly should be exterminated, and that ‘dangerous ideas’ are capital crimes, how are we doing?
We’re still: Murderers. Adulterers. Manipulators. Xenophobes. We still feather our own nests with what we’ve ripped away from others. We still toot our own horns and poison our own children. What’s more, there is no ACCEPTED body of knowledge that does anything except fine-tune our blame-laying procedures.
These are the facts in a world that has left God behind. We are still children of wrath – “poured out of our mother’s womb into well-defined structural forms, outlines laid without symmetry; jagged, sharp, crooked lines constructed by the un-builder himself – Lucifer.” (1)
But something cries out within us that this is not how it is supposed to be! Whether we wail, “It’s just not fair!” or we gasp at a fleeting moment of beauty, or we weep with loneliness or we hunger for something more meaningful than being batteries in an eternal machine, our hearts testify to something DIFFERENT. Maximus says, “Marcus Aurelius had a dream that was Rome, Proximo, and this is not it! This is NOT it!” (2) Our hearts speak the same thoughts – “We had a dream that was reality, and this is NOT it!”
“Yet, in the gloom a light glimmers and glows. We have received an invitation. WE are invited to make a pilgrimage — into the heart and life of God. The invitation has long been on public record. You can hardly look anywhere across the human scene and not encounter it. It is literally ‘blowing in the wind.’ A door of welcome seems open to everyone without exception. No person or circumstance other than our own decision can keep us away. ‘Whosoever will may come.’
“The major problem with the invitation now is precisely overfamiliarity. Familiarity breeds unfamiliarity — unsuspected unfamiliarity, and then contempt. People think they have heard the invitation. They think they have accepted it – or rejected it. But they have not. The difficulty today is to hear it at all. Genius, it is said, is the ability to scrutinize the obvious. Written everywhere, we may think, how could the invitation be subtle, or deep? It looks like all the other graffiti, and even shows up in the same places. But that is part of the Divine Conspiracy.
“God’s desire for us is that we should live in him. He sends among us the Way to himself. That shows what, in his heart of hearts, God is really like – indeed, what reality is really like. In its deepest nature and meaning, reality is a community of boundless and totally competent love.” (3)
What is offered to us is more than an invitation to a party. We are invited to a vast undertaking, a mission unparelleled in scope and meaning. We are invited into the mission of spreading the rulership of the heavens into every corner of creation (Matt 6:10) — beginning with our own twisted, proud, distrustful, ever-wandering hearts. To accomplish this mission, we need several things – New Identity, New Training, New Equipment. Over the coming days and weeks, we will explore what it might mean to live this mission. Come and sojourn with me!
in HIS love,
- Ben Overby, New Genesis, pg. 18
- David Franzoni, Gladiator screenplay
- Dallas Willard, The Divine Conspiracy, pg.11