Life as Mission

. September 11, 2011
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In America, leisure is treated almost as if it's a human right. We grow up in a youth subculture which feeds and celebrates distinctly childish interests. Remember this "Toys 'R Us" commercial from the 1980's?

Then we have eight-hour work days, mandatory breaks, weekends and some three-day weekends, vacation, and even a retirement that's supposed to be funded by the government.

The printing press,
an early robo-slave
This is the result of increased productivity. Each generation has an increasingly efficient set of robo-slaves that does our laundry, waters our lawns, and even deposits our paychecks for us. There are robo-slaves at work that make copies, ding our co-workers' phones with text messages, and do complex analytical work. As computers become more capable, we don't have to work as hard.
With all this leisure time, why aren't we happier?

Part of the reason is that we are built for mission. God gave Adam work to do. Unproductive leisure is not the kind of joy-filled work Adam did before the Fall.

I suggest three ways to bring mission back into the work you do.
  1. Redeem the work you're already doing. What can you do to love God and love your neighbor in the responsibilities you've already been given? Can you be an agent of change in your workplace's culture?

  2. Replace some leisure time with short-term mission. You don't have to go overseas to do this. If you're going to take a three-day weekend anyway, is there something your family can do that would be both enjoyable and Gospel-centered? Helping others might bring your family more happiness and fulfillment than a weekend lounging around playing video games.

  3. Cultivate long-term mission-oriented goals. Again, this can integrate into your existing plans. Are you saving for retirement anyway? Can some of those funds be used to make your retirement a period of service and not just leisure? Are you saving and investing enough to have a reasonable chance of getting there?
I'll leave you with a few quotes from Fabs Harford's read-worthy blog post, Why Am I Weary?
Maybe the reason we’re weary is not because we’re pouring our lives out for others, but because we aren’t.

Life can feel like a chore if we aren’t on mission....

Want to be refreshed?  Want to be like a watered garden?  Want to be satisfied and guided continually?  Care about people.  Pour yourself out for them...

What if God ordained mission for us; to provide energy and joy; and what if satan has kept us from that great stream of grace by convincing us that mission is a threat to our energy and joy?

Or, maybe there’s another way Satan could sabotage the design of mission.  There are no shortage of us who are pouring ourselves out without the promised result in Isaiah because when we do engage in mission, we act as if we’re doing God a favor.

Life feels like a chore because we serve out of duty and not delight.
 Read her full post here.