An excerpt from The New Friars. I really needed to hear this :)
“In 1990 Janine and I began applying to missions organizations that would place us overseas more permanently. Ultimately, though, we decided that the organizations were not good matches with our particular needs and gifts, and we continued working at InterVarsity. When my boss pulled the plug on Janine and me taking a group of students to serve Palestinian refugees, however, I became deeply discouraged. It was January in Wisconsin, which was reason enough to get depressed for those who don’t care for darkness or cold weather. I very distinctly remember shoveling snow from our driveway wondering what had come of all my great expectations to be a missionary in the most challenging environment on earth. Now I was a homeowner in my late twenties with one child. The fact that I even had a driveway was disheartening, let alone the realization that precious time and energy had to go into hauling snow from it one shoveful at a time only for it to get covered again in a few days.
I had read earlier that day the passage in Matthew where Jesus gives Simon the name Peter or ‘Rocky’: ‘You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church.’ Jesus gave Peter a name that defined his mission for the rest of his life. He gave Peter an identity. That’s what I wanted him to do for me — to give me an identity that would help define my specific mission and calling. ‘Oh God,’ I cried, ‘I wish you would name me!’
Then the Lord spoke quite clearly to a deep place within my spirit: ‘Peter named me first,’ he said. At first I was a bit taken aback. Then I recognized that in this passage, the naming of Peter was prompted only because Peter had just answered Jesus’ question, ‘Who do you say that I am?’ Peter had replied, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God’ (Matthew 16:16). Apparently I had not yet fully understood Jesus’ identity and acknowledged his Messiahship.
As I puzzled, clarification came with a few more shovefuls of snow and another statement coming from somewhere outside of me yet not audible. ‘You love my mission more than you love me,’ Jesus said to me. At first I found this a bit offensive. I suppose Peter might have felt the same way when Jesus kept asking him later, ‘Do you love me?’ (John 21:15-17). How can this be, I wondered? Of course I love you, Lord. But then I began to ask myself, what was it that motivated me? What was it that I thought about and dreamed about and obsessed about? It was his mission. Indeed, I did love his mission more than I loved him. It was true. I was in pursuit of Christ’s mission, and in the process I had passed by the Mission Giver without so much as a ‘hello.’
As wonderful as it is to bring the kingdom of God to the hollow places on earth, even this is rubbish in comparison to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus. Intimacy with Christ must be first. Without it, mission is empty and self-serving. I stopped pursuing his mission on that day and began giving myself more completely to him — whether that would lead me permanently overseas or not. New friars will need to learn how the quest for Christ must have supremacy in their lives. If they can do that, they just may be able to save civilization.”
Jesus, I’m sorry for the way I love your mission more than you. I’m sorry that I may love InterVarsity and its mission more than I love you. Help me to give myself more completely to you with all things aside. Help me to understand and know you better as the Messiah, the son of the living God.