Today at church, our pastor spoke about missions. God wants us all to take part in a mission in His name. Now, for most people, we hear the word mission and we think about traveling to a third world country and preaching to people that most likely do not speak the same language as we do. Growing up Catholic, I have a good understanding of missions, and my brother traveled to the Dominican Republic his last year in high school to take part in a mission effort. Missions are wonderful things, but they’re also foreign concepts to many of us.
Today’s message, however, was that we need to find a mission in our everyday lives. It’s not only about making a commitment to travel to Africa or Central America. It’s also not about taking only one hour per week to give to God. Living a mission for God is about making it part of our every day. It needs to be the cornerstone of what we do and who we are.
This got me thinking about something my dad once told me. I need to caveat what I am about to say with this: My dad was my hero. I loved my father with all that I had, and losing him in 2004 had a profound effect on me and my life. I lost a parent and a friend, and every memory I have of my father, most good and some bad, comes with a little life-lesson. He tried in everything he did to teach my brother and me something new, and he felt it was his obligation to better prepare us for the world.
Still, my father was not perfect. Not by a long shot. The one thing in particular about which I never saw eye-to-eye with my dad was his notion that you never get something for nothing. His life and his experiences lead him to believe that everyone had an agenda. He did not inherently trust people who performed kind gestures for him. What’s ironic is that he was so giving and he instinctively gave of himself with no agenda at all. He just liked to help out whenever he could.
It pains me to say that my dad was wrong. Although we must be vigilant of others and not just blindly place our trust in strangers, I do believe that you can get something for nothing. I believe there does exist in people the ability to give to others without an expectation of reciprocation of any sort. Just as my dad always gave of himself to help others, there are others who also give of themselves every day. And it’s possible someone who has chosen to live a giving life may interact with you and, as such, give to you something for nothing.
I believe my mission in God and with God is to live my life as best I can to be a giving person. To be someone who, every day, gives someone else something for nothing. I think it’s ironic that in proving my father wrong I am able to prove my Father right. And I think my dad would be okay with that.