Mission is doing what God the Father did
Mission does not belong to man or to a church or to a mission organization. It belongs to God as He is the primary author and finisher of Mission. He is the promoter and prominent strategist of Mission.
Not only that, Mission has not begun with us or through us or through a church or a mission organization in the twenty first century. True Mission began in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve sinned against God by disobeying His command. When God came to know that Adam and Eve had sinned against Him, He did not write them off but went to the Garden of Eden to reconnect with them.
“And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden” (Genesis 3:8).
God’s mission started when man sinned against Him and when God longed to get back man to himself. If we need to know what Mission is all about, we need to know what God the Father did in the Garden of Eden when man sinned. We learn from Genesis 3 that God did three things which explain what mission is all about.
1. SOUGHT the lost
The Bible says, “But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, Where are you?” (Genesis 3:9).
Instead of getting frustrated with Adam and Eve, God caringly asked Adam where He was. God knew that Adam had sinned and was afraid of facing Him again. God’s act of going in search of him in order to reconnect with him gives us the first definition of Mission. Mission is seeking the lost.
As individual Christians, or as members of churches or as missionaries serving through mission organizations, our main responsibility is to go in search of the lost. Thus, when we are called to seek the lost and if we fail to do that, it means we ourselves are lost amidst our various activities and programs in the name of mission.
2. SAW the lost
When Adam blamed Eve for giving him the forbidden fruit and leading him to disobey God’s commandment, God saw both of them as lost people who were destined to face the consequences of their sin. God said to Eve, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children” (Genesis 3:16).
He reminded Adam that as he was taken from the dust, he would die and return to the same dust (Genesis 3:19). But God still saw Adam and Eve as hopeless people who needed help. Thus, Mission is seeing the lost as God sees them. The main reason why churches and Christians are not involved in Mission is, they do not see the lost as God sees them – as people who need help. As Christians, are we not expected to see the lost as God sees and respond to their needs?
3. SHARED with the lost
God did banish Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden as punishment for their disobedience. But at the same time, He showed His love and care for them. God promised that He would send Somebody who would conquer Satan:
“I will put enmity between you [=Satan] and the woman,
and between your offspring and her offspring;
He shall bruise your head,
and you shall bruise His heel”
Indirectly, God shared with Adam and Eve the truth that there was scope for them to be redeemed from their fallen state. That was a comforting message of hope for Adam and Even. Thus, Mission is sharing the message of the cross with the lost. Today we are called to share the message of the Cross with the lost.
When the church and Christians today fail to focus on this key mission of seeking the lost, seeing the lost as God sees them and sharing with them the Gospel that Christ died for them on the cross and rose up from the grave, they fail in their primary purpose of existence. What God the Father did in the Garden of Eden, is what the church and Christians are called to do today and to continue as their primary mission on the earth.