Mission or Money

Mission or Money December 15, 2020

So, let’s be honest. We are all holding onto a secret hope. We want to avoid the choice between mission and money. When I was a kid, I went to church and fell in love with Jesus – so I dreamed of becoming a famous pastor/author who changed the world with my messages… and owned a home in Switzerland. We dream of living out our mission in such a way that the money also rolls in.

This is not impossible, in a practical sense. But even if it happens circumstantially (maybe especially if it happens), you cannot avoid the choice. Money or mission. You have to make a decision one way or the other.


Moment of Truth

I am thinking about this because we counsel college students who are graduating and trying to figure out what job to pursue. They are measuring perks like offices with gyms and free beer, salary concerns, the reality of starting low on the ladder, and their ideals/dreams/goals/values.

It is a complicated task.

But what I have noticed (first in our college students and then in myself) is the delicate dance we do with ourselves to try to avoid the reality that, at some point, just like The Bible says – we are going to have to choose whom we serve.

I remember this moment very clearly for me. I was newlywed, working part-time as an interim youth pastor. I had been through a series of hard knocks, just travelled the world, and was getting ready to “settle down” with my new wife.

I’d always dreamed of living in New York City. I felt like it was where we were supposed to be. In the meantime, the church I was at offered me the full-time job. It is the best church I’ve ever been a part of. Before I left on the worldwide adventure, and for the better part of my adult life, this was the very job I had been dreaming of.

The church was doing construction on a new youth wing and one day, the staff took a walk through the site to see the progress. I saw the massive office, the big space for gathering teens – games, stage, etc. It was extravagant AND meaningful.

But if I am honest with myself, for me, it was more extravagant than mission-centered. It would be comfortable, fun, wonderful. I would do great work there. But, if I stayed, it would be for the money. It would be in avoidance of the uncertainty of NYC.


Make Your Choice

For all of us, we cannot serve both mission and money. One will devour the other and it will always be money that devours mission. Unless we are intentional. Unless we choose otherwise. Upfront. Honestly. With intention.

And there will be a time when the choice will be tested. Like the rich young ruler in Matthew, we will be asked to share our resources.

I am not saying we have to turn down good paying jobs or that there is something inherently wrong with that home in Switzerland. But either these things will lead our mission or our mission will guide these things. There is only room for one master of our lives. And it is a choice we must make. The sooner, the better.

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