John Morrison – 7 May 2017

At this time of year, I quite often have flashbacks.  It’s not related to the change of season, but to the beginning of May. Having grown up in a Baptist Church, May for me has been associated with “May Mission Month” for as long as I can remember.  The flashbacks involve memories of pot-luck fellowship teas, missionary deputationists from around the world and fundraising for Australian Baptist Missionary Society (now Global Interaction.)

Another flashback is: “Good morning Mr. Phelps. Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to…”  The connection between these words and May is the theme of mission.  The words always introduced the TV show “Mission Impossible”, one of my favourites growing up.  It originally screened from the mid 60’s to the early 70’s and was revived for a couple of new series in 1988.  There have been several movie spin-offs since then for a new generation.

At the beginning of the shows I watched as a youth, Jim Phelps, played by Peter Graves, would listen to a taped message which would outline his mission.  Five seconds later the reel-to-reel tape (that’s how long ago it was!) would self-destruct in flames.  Jim would then gather together a team of other undercover agents to tackle the covert mission.

As disciples of Jesus, we too have been given a mission, though it’s hardly a covert one.  Jesus gave it in person to his original disciples following his resurrection and before his ascension, and it has been passed on to all disciples since.

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.” (Mt. 28:19,20a)

The mission Jim Phelps would receive would never be easy.  It always involved risk and danger.  There would inevitably be difficulties on the way no matter how careful the planning.  So it is with our mission.  He would always undertake the mission with a team of other dedicated people, and that is how we are to undertake ours.

Each taped message would say: “should you decide to accept it”.  Of course, Jim always did.  There’s a good example for us to follow when it comes to our God-given mission.

There’s a big difference when we undertake our mission however.  The taped messages would tell Jim: “As always, should you or any member of your IM Force be caught or killed, the secretary will disavow any knowledge of your actions.”  In contrast, we are told: “And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Mt. 28:20b)

With Jim and the other agents, their gifts, planning and commitment would always lead to the eventual success of the mission.  Those elements are also vital for us, but ultimately the success of our mission is assured because Christ is with us and it is his mission.  That’s why our mission is not “Mission Impossible”.