Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A Mission Gone Awry

A few years ago, a young man took off on a mission. A seemingly simple mission, he had only to make contact with his brothers. Before Joseph could put together a good report on sheep herds and their shepherds, he was in a slave coffle heading the wrong way. In scarcely less time than it takes to read a good book, he found himself in the household of a powerful man of a foreign nation. You know much of the rest of the story because Joseph is a famous Old Testament tale that we enjoy regularly. Joseph's mission went badly awry. If Joseph's salvation depended on it, his doom was sealed.

We take on a mission for ourselves to gain salvation by our hard work. When that mission goes awry, we level blame upon ourselves and then heap it upon God, the universe, unfairness in general, and anyone else who happens along that day. We have so little control over the mission, but we think that eternity depends upon the goodness we can pile up here on Earth. The Bible, God's word, reminds us that all of our good deeds are as dirty rags, but still we pile the dirty things into our treasure chest. We secretly hope that one day God will be impressed by this large pile of stinking, dirty treasure.

As God took human form and walked the Earth, He was impressed by one man. A Roman officer who understood completely the authority of Jesus over sin and death. Jesus marveled at the faith of a man who didn't even belong to God's chosen people. Salvation is the work of Christ; we cannot earn it. The seed of faith is a gift from God. Let it grow as you let go of the desire to earn a salvation that is freely given. Good works will grow from the love God plants in your heart. Your life's mission may appear to go completely off track, but what the world means for your harm God intends for good.

We ended the study of Joseph's story with this morning's Bible study, but truly all of the Bible is His story and of that story there is no ending.


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