Prior to my entrance into the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) my understanding of the term mission was based upon the 1966 television series “Mission Impossible,” which ran for seven seasons. A mission was a seemingly impossible task that a hero received via a pre-recorded message that itself would self-destruct after having delivered the information. Each week a new impossible mission would be assigned, and the hero given the option to accept or reject the mission. The hero always accepted, and the impossible mission was always completed. It seemed odd to me that those impossible missions were rather simplistic and could always be accomplished.
My experiences in the military shed new light on the term mission. Unlike the task assigned to the Impossible Mission Force (IMF), military missions were complex, involving both willing and not-so-willing participants and at times were frustratingly unachievable. Welcome to real life Gerry. Military missions notoriously suffer from insufficient resources, partially engaged personnel and uncertainty due to multiple foreseeable and unforeseeable factors. Reality tends to foster an attitude of partial commitment towards the mission. Passionate engagement is difficult to find.
In the book of Matthew, chapter 28 verses 18-20, Jesus, like the deep voiced operations officer on the self-destructing tape, offered to his disciples an impossible mission – to go to all the nations and make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey all that Jesus had commanded the disciples. Bringing liberation from the eternal catastrophic consequences of personal sin and subsequent alignment with the principles and precepts of the Living God to all the world is an impossible mission that trumps any the IMF were called to accomplish. In fact, the mission of Christ is truly impossible. So, why would the disciples or even myself for that matter undertake to pursue this mission?
For one, unlike military missions, Jesus has promised to not only be with me, but He has assured me that He will bring to bear all the authority that has been given to Him. How much authority? All authority. This means unlimited power, unlimited resources, unlimited effects. With that kind of support, the mission is not only possible, its accomplishment is 100% assured. For that reason alone I would be keen to join the winning team. Yet, there is a second reason, the object of the mission – saving people’s lives. Serving the Supreme Commander as He changes lives forever.
There are a lot of different missions that people choose to undertake. Some are for a short time, while others are for extended durations. At its inception in 1973 the Military Christian Fellowship (MCF) chose to accept the impossible mission of bringing the gospel to the military community at home and abroad. Members of the MCF are Christ’s IMF to you, your neighbours, and your colleagues in the military community.