Summary: One in a series on Rick Warren’s Purpose-Driven Life book. Our mission is to drive with others toward a destination. But between invitation and destination there is hesitation, born of diversion, dissension, and dissipation.
People who are on a mission move; people who are on a mission let nothing stop them. They are not distracted by side issues, they focus all their energies on getting their mission accomplished. People who are on a mission do whatever it takes to get to their goal.
But people who are not on a mission spend time on the whim of the moment, and wonder, at the end of the day, where the time went.
I’ve been struck by one of the words in our purpose-driven life series. That is the word “driven”. “Driven” We’ve talked about purpose, and we’ve thought about purpose in our lives. But that word “driven”. We haven’t said much about what it is to be “driven”.
Last week you seemed to learn from my metaphor about servers in a restaurant, as we thought about how we are shaped for God’s service. Maybe today a different image will help you – the image of driving, driving a car, being driven. The word “driven” helps us understand that we were made for a mission. For people who are on a mission move. People who are on a mission are not deterred or distracted. They are driven. They have a destination in mind, and they go for that destination.
The Bible tells us about that destination. The Scriptures speak about the place toward which we are driving. If you want to know where we are headed, look toward the end of the Bible. In fact, look at the very last verses of the Bible. The Bible begins with “in the beginning” and speaks to us about why we were put here in the first place. But then the Bible ends with a reminder of where we are going, where we are driven.
You were made for a mission. And people who are on a mission are driven. They are neither deterred nor distracted. People who are on a mission do whatever it takes to get to the destination.
First, acknowledge with me that God is inviting us all to take this trip with Him. God is inviting us all to an ultimate destination. God is going somewhere with His plan, and He is inviting us to come along for the ride. The issue is whether we understand that we are to invite others to come along with us.
Look at how much the Bible speaks of coming. Here at the end of the Bible it says, “The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come.’” That means that God is urging everyone to come and be a part of His eternity. Any disagreement about that? God says, “come”.
All right, now look at how much those whom God is inviting want to come. Do the people around us want what God has to offer? The end of the Bible says, “Let everyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who wishes take the water of life as a gift.” Sounds like what God has to offer is attractive, doesn’t it? And I would in fact argue that just because someone does not seem to want God, just because someone does not appear to want His offer of life, that does not mean that’s the whole truth. I would argue that deep down in every heart there is a thirst that only the Spirit of God can slake. There is an emptiness which only God can fill. They may not look at the moment like they want to come to the Lord, but they do. Ultimately they do.
So what have we established? That the Lord is always inviting people to come to His destination, and that they really want to come, down deep they want to come. But there is another ingredient. There is a missing link. And that is that someone must invite them. Someone must speak the word, “come”. Who is that? Who has that mission? “Let everyone who hears say, ‘Come.’” Let everyone who hears say, “come”. Let everyone who really grasps and understands the good news say it, “come”. Say “come” to the excluded, say “come” to the wounded, say “come” to the cynical. The mission God has given us is to say make the invitation clear. To be an inviting people. To see the goal and to pursue it and bring others along with us. To speak, “come”.
Several years ago I officiated at the funeral for one of our members, Chief John Layton. A few of you will remember Mr. Layton. He had been chief of the Metropolitan Police, retiring in the late 60’s. When he died, the police department sent its top leadership to the funeral here, and, more than that, sent several police cruisers and a phalanx of motorcycles. There was so much blue around here I felt like I was drowning! Now the burial was at Cedar Hill Cemetery, all the way across the city. We formed our procession, and started out; but instead of the usual slow, dignified funeral procession, this one picked up the pace quickly, very quickly. Let me tell you, you have not lived until you have been whisked down North Capitol Street at sixty miles an hour, with police cars and motorcycles everywhere, every intersection blocked, screaming sirens in your ears, escorts to the right, to the left, in front and behind. Nothing stopped them, nothing slowed them, nothing shook their focus. Those police officers were on a mission to honor their chief, and all their energies were concentrated on it. Urgency, intensity, focus, on a mission.