Well, I just got mission-stated yet again. I wrote a mission statement for a woman whose life mission statement is to “excel in her duties in order to please Christ.” Rest assured, this woman knows that she is saved by grace alone, and not by the excellence of the performance of her duties. Even so, her life passion is not merely to fulfill her duties (which is noble in and of itself), but rather to excel in them.
How many of the rest of us honestly try to excel in our daily duties?
As for me, I call my duties “my chores.” And I sometimes forget that it’s my duty—and not an option—to do every chore unto the Lord. I don’t typically think in terms of “my duties” at all.
But in doing a private session with this woman, I teared up the moment I thought of her mission statement. You see, I have known this woman—her name is Cindy—for forty years. In fact, I personally bear eyewitness to Cindy’s long time embodiment of doing her duties with excellence.
My friend, Cindy, is so dutiful that I used to tease her in high school for chewing her food (each bite) twenty times before swallowing it. She has so many good habits in place that she has never needed to go on a diet, never been out of shape, never made less than an A in any course, and never steered off the path to go sow wild oats.
The wake-up call for me—that brought tears to my eyes in her session—is that for all these years, Cindy’s excellence has flowed, not from any inborn goodness or superwoman discipline in herself. Rather, it has flowed from her unspoken desire to please the Lord whom she’s been serving all along.
Though I’ve spent hundreds of hours with Cindy over the decades, I admit I was taken aback when I discovered the general concept of her mission statement. What I learned by listening deeply is that Cindy’s motivation in upholding such high standards is to serve Jesus. She wants to please Him (and not just be saved by Him). Her life echoes what the apostle Paul said to the Corinthian church:
Therefore we also have as our ambition . . . to be pleasing to the Lord (II Corinthians 5:9).
I have long loved my friend, Cindy. But I am remiss in not having understood that Cindy’s high performance is a result of her resolve to give her very best to please God.
What I’m saying is that Cindy lives a tacitly worshipful life. She worships God nonverbally in the way she does her tasks. Yes, she worships God with music on Sunday mornings, attends Bible study, and prays. But for Cindy, pleasing the Lord is means pleasing Him in her everyday life. For Cindy, it’s not easy to live as she lives. It actually takes moral courage for Cindy to stay on mission—because voices are telling her that she is not doing enough.
You see, Cindy has chosen to limit herself and not try to “do it all.” Cindy is focused. She follows through on her commitments to her family, church, and employer. She prioritizes relationships above housekeeping; she cooks from scratch for her family instead of self-actualizing herself; she serves the living God and does not take advantage of the advantages she has to exalt herself.
There is no doubt but that Cindy has the capability of making lots more money than she makes now as a part-time accountant. No doubt, also that Cindy could’ve “made it big” given her physique. She literally is super model pretty. She has gleaming straight white teeth though she never wore braces, smooth olive skin that makes her tan without laying out in the sun, eyebrows that make her eyes striking without any make-up, and a gorgeous smile, and an almost perfect figure along with champion-level athleticism that keeps her body firm and sinewy.
Yet for all this, Cindy counts it more important to please Christ.
Thanks to Cindy’s influence, her personal light rays shining on me, I find myself pondering these questions:
* Is it truly my ambition to be pleasing to the Lord in the way I serve my husband?
* And do my chores?
* Do I humbly see myself as Jesus’ servant from day to day?
Yes, the Church is Jesus’ Bride, and we are members of His Body, and we are Jesus’ family and friends. Yet we are still God’s servants, and it is still our duty to making it our ambition to please God with our daily actions, even though Jesus loves us as we are.