“This is how everyone will know that you are my disciples, when you love each other.”
John 13:35 CEB
Happy New Year! It’s difficult to believe that 2019 is already here. 2018 went by at an incredible pace. I pray this New Year brings you health, happiness, and a new measure of God’s grace as you grow in your relationship with Jesus Christ. May 2019 be the best year yet for your relationship with Jesus. Do you have a favorite place to shop? A favorite company where you buy either goods or services? Most of us have our favorites. Debbie and I were talking the other day about how we are loyal to Publix. Having grown up in Florida, and worked for Publix as my first job, I do almost all of my food shopping exclusively at Publix. Their slogan is “Where shopping is a pleasure.” But, do you know their mission? I had to look it up. On their website they state, “Our mission is to be the premier quality food retailer in the world.” I haven’t been around the world shopping for quality food, but I think they are doing a pretty good job of living into their mission. The mission of Coca-Cola is “To refresh the world … To inspire moments of optimism and happiness … To create value and make a difference.” Again, I think they are doing a good job of living into their mission. A mission in life is important for a company, a group of individuals, and individual persons. Have you given any thought to what your personal mission in life is? When I first gave my life to Jesus, in 1986, I was led to create my own personal mission statement. I feel like God led me to understand that my mission was “to help people grow deeper in their relationship with Jesus Christ.” What do you believe God is leading you to do as a follower of Jesus? What is your mission? If you have never considered adopting your own life’s mission, I would encourage you to consider this. A life mission can be like a giant compass in life keeping you on course and helping you to head in the right direction. A mission is the very thing Jesus gave to all his disciples—including you and me. Jesus’ life mission was to seek and save that which was lost. [Luke 19:10] Jesus told his disciples their life mission was a little different. In John 13 verse 34 Jesus told his disciples to love each other. He then said, “This is how everyone will know that you are my disciples, when you love each other.” I know Jesus also said to love God and go and make disciples. I believe that our love for God is not as much a mission as a response to God’s love for us. I also believe that the Great Commission is the way in which we express our life’s mission to love each other. Truly loving each other means we are wanting the very best for each other. Wanting the very best for someone who has not accepted Jesus is helping them come to faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. Wanting the very best for someone who is a fellow Christian is helping them grow deeper in love with Jesus. Jesus said our mission was to love each other. This is how the world will know we are disciples of Jesus. The question for us is does the world know? Is there overwhelming evidence that we love each other? To be on mission together in 2019 we must love each other. Not just any kind of love, but the type of selfless, self-giving love that Jesus demonstrated for us. The way John Wesley believed we demonstrate our love for God and for each other was in covenant relationship. Every year John Wesley led a renewal service where the following prayer was prayed: I am no longer my own, but thine. Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt. Put me to doing, put me to suffering. Let me be employed by thee or laid aside by thee. Exalted for thee or brought low for thee. Let me be full, let me be empty. Let me have all things, let me have nothing. I freely and heartily yield all things to pleasure and disposal. And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, thou art mine, and I am thine. So be it. And the covenant which I have made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven. Amen. To love God and love each other we must live in covenant relationship together. I hope you will pray this prayer at the outset of this New Year. We will pray this prayer in worship together this weekend at all services. I, also, pray that we will all live by the mission Jesus has given us—to love each other. May the world know—without a doubt—that we are disciples of Jesus Christ! This weekend we will talk about renewing our covenant with God and fulfilling our mission. When we choose to share the love of Jesus Christ with everyone in our life we are on mission together. I hope you will join us this weekend in worship. The best is yet to come. I love you all and can’t wait to see you in church!