son and I are continuing a series of messages under the
title of my newest book, Don't
Throw Away Tomorrow.
And today I am focusing on Chapter 3 with the simple
title, Discover and Determine Your Mission. You throw your life away when you don't fulfill your mission
or when you intentionally discard it or take a cavalier
attitude toward your mission.
One of the Bible verses that has impressed and motivated
me more than any other is, "Neglect not the gift that is in you." (I
Timothy 4:14) As
I grew up, I think I became conscious that I was different. Every person is. No
two people are alike.
Don't try to fit into every other person's mold. Be yourself. Discover your unique talents. You are an individual. The DNA in you is a mixture of genes that
may go back to many people through your father or your mother. You are different. There has never been a person like you.
God knew what He was doing when He mixed up your
genes and you came into the world a very different person.
your uniqueness. "Neglect
not the gift that is in you."
Keep those Bible words before you.
They come directly from God to you today through
me. I have attempted to apply that text to daily living
and absorb its teaching in Chapter 3 of my new book,
Don't Throw Away Tomorrow.
and Determine Your Mission.
Hope was a friend of mine.
So many times I had seen people come to Bob Hope
for autographs in the middle of his dinner, and he didn't
have a chance to eat.
They snapped their photographs even when he was taking
a bite of food. It never seemed like he had a life of
his own. But
Bob Hope had a mission.
His mission was a God-given mission íK to make people laugh. And
he did that and lived to the age of one hundred! My son
and I were honored to be a part of the clergy processional
at his funeral service in the Catholic Church. We were the
only Protestant ministers.
is your mission? What is the one thing that really drives
you? If you
want to fulfill the potential of tomorrow and not be unfulfilled,
then you need to deal with this question:
Believe that God has a mission for you. God has something
special for you. But you reply, "I'm just a simple person." Yes, all of us are, but we have learned
through ecology that every creature's life, even if it is
an insect or bacteria, has a purpose in all of creation. You are not too small.
You are important and God has a powerful purpose
for your life.
your mission, and then fulfill it! For if you discard your mission, you are
discarding your calling and then you are
throwing away your tomorrows.
But you say, "How can I find my mission?" Well, I do not have an easy, simple answer to that. I give some suggestions in my book and
I hope they will help you.
Begin by saying:
What one thing do I want to do
more than anything else in life? Or, start with the question,
What would I do if I knew I could
not fail? You can discover your mission if you ask,
What would I be willing to die for in the one life I have
students make their plans to go to the university or a college
to pursue their education without having a plan for a specific
will even get advanced degrees thinking then they will surely
discover their mission.
That may not necessarily be so. I am astonished by
how many people have their Bachelor of Arts degrees or Master
of Arts degrees from great universities and after graduation
and then they settle for a vocation that does not require
the degrees they worked so hard for.
And when I ask them, "Well, why are you here?"
They respond, "I really haven't found out yet
what I want to do."
do you find your mission?
How do you find out what you want to do?
You begin, I submit, with prayer.
I believe there is a God.
I believe God has a plan and purpose for you.
You've often heard me tell about my mother's special
mission. She had the gift of baking the most delicious
mouth-watering apple pies in the world. I know. I grew
up on her apple pies.
But her special mission was to bake apple pies for
people in town. And she made a difference in her lifetime.
People in sorrow, in suffering or in celebration,
received a gift from my mother, a warm, mouth watering apple
pie. Many years
after my mother died, we received a donation of many thousands
of dollars to this ministry from a school teacher who wrote
that my mother brought a hot apple pie to her family in
a difficult time. So my mother's mission had a greater purpose than she planned.
mission may be simple but very powerful, as the lady who
always stood uninvited at the front door of this church,
and as people came, she would shake their hands to welcome
them. She wasn't on staff, or an elder of the
people left, she still stood there thanking them for coming. When someone said to her, "Why do you always stand at
the door? You're
so friendly to these people.
I don't think they know you and you don't know them!"
She answered, "My mission is to smile them in
and smile them out."
You see, it is so simple.
We tend to be overwhelmed by the grandiose, the grand
scale, the super spectacular, and that is all well and good,
but often it is the simple things that make a difference.
discover your mission in life--Don't
Throw Away Tomorrow. And you will
throw away tomorrow if you don't sincerely and passionately
pursue the purpose God has for you being alive. God has a purpose for everyone.
have all heard me frequently refer to Dr. Viktor Frankl.
In my mind he is one of the greatest psychiatrists
in human history. He died not long ago at the age of ninety-two.
I had the grand privilege of being mentored, shaped,
and taught by him. We spent many hours together and Mrs.
Schuller and I last visited him shortly before he died in
his home in Switzerland.
Dr. Viktor Frankl discovered his mission in the death
camps in Nazi Germany after his parents and family were
all taken there. He
alone survived and in his suffering he got a concept, a
vision, "They might burn or kill me tomorrow, but as
long as I am alive I can do something today.
As long as I am alive, I have a mission to help people,
people who are hurting, people who are grieving, people
who are confused, people who are cynical or bitter. I can help people. I'm good at that. That is my gift."
not the gift that is in you." You have a gift. It may be a smile. It may be the capacity to respond even
impulsively to generosity.
Bruce Fitzgerald, a member of this church, took on
a life saving mission. One of his customers who shopped in his
store was dying because his kidneys were failing and he
couldn't find anybody who had a kidney that would match
said, "Perhaps my kidney would match yours." It did, and Bruce gave one of his kidneys to a customer he hardly knew.
why is it so important to discover and then determine your
cannot you and I just live a casual, cavalier life and read
the paper, listen to the news, and chit chat with folks,
without having a divine passion or purpose?
Why can't we?
Here is why. When you discover a mission, then a dream
enters into your consciousness.
The dream is all important.
Without a dream, you really aren't alive. You are existing. You
are enduring. You
are not creating.
You are tolerating, and tolerance is never adequate.
Life is so much more exciting when you are positive,
constructive, and inspirational in building your life or
the lives of those around you. You need a mission!
of that mission that you find in prayer, comes a dream.
And the dream needs to be taken seriously.
You have all heard me say the reason this ministry
is so successful is because God knew that the people who
come here would not throw away great ideas just because
they are impossible.
God knew the kind of people in this church and the
millions that join us via television in the Chinese, Russian,
Arabic or other languages íK whether they live
in Hong Kong or Moscow won't throw away their tomorrows. They won't throw away a great idea just because it is impossible.
No, because when your impossible idea becomes a mission,
the mission becomes a consuming dream, a divine call.
One of the reasons you can know that you are walking
in the will of God is when you pray for your dream and pray
for your goals, then commit to those goals, then the goals
will consume you. You are being directed by God in your
I look at the past fifty years at my ministry, I saw the
goals of building a ministry that would impact the world
and bring faith to cynical people. I was goal-possessed,
God-possessed and God-managed.
The goal managed person should not be condemned as
being self-centered in his drive. He may be very strongly driven by God
your mission. Understand
you are not ready to die until you are ready to live. And you are not ready to live until you find a cause
that you would die for!
I'd die for my family!
I would have died for this church many times, if
that would have been the price. Yes, I would have gladly
paid it. When
you get a Divine mission, it becomes a Divine call. And
that turns into a Divine dream which emerges into a measurable,
manageable goal. Then you are so consumed by it, you would
die for it because you know it is what God wants you to
do! Then you really are alive! And you don't live in the mental and emotional
level of dullness, drabness, lethargy, or non-excitement. You are turned on. Wow! Yes. Find your mission and
you get a dream íK the dream will become a goal. The goal will consume you and you will
years ago I sat next to this guy on the airplane from California
to the East Coast. I didn't know him and he didn't know me.
He started the conversation. We introduced ourselves and he asked me,
"Where do you live?"
I said, "I live in Garden Grove, California." And he insulted me. You know what he said? "I never heard of it." I had a problem. How do I get even without insulting him?
I came up with what I thought was a God-given inspiring,
honorable return "insult." He said, "I'm from Green Bay, Wisconsin."
I said, "Oh íK what does Green
Bay have outside the Green Bay Packers?"
He looked at me and he said, "I really don't
know, I'm the coach!"
gulped and asked, "Well, how are you going to do next
hadn't been doing very well at all.
he said, "we are going to do great next year íK"
can you say that?"
we are loaded with talent."
raised my eyebrows and said, "What is talent?"
I expected him to say speed, because I know professional
football coaches who say, "Give me speed and IíŽll have a winning team. The single most important thing is speed.
I expected him to say that, but he said, "Talent
is character!" That's an odd subject, we're talking about football players
who bounce each other around and almost kill each other. That's not really the way I describe character.
I said, "What is character?"
And he looked at me and instantly replied, "It
character delivers drive.
People who are great achievers don't necessarily
have education. They may not have superb intelligence, but they do have integrity
and drive. Find
your God-given mission and commit yourself to God-directed
goals, goals that you would die for if you had to.
If you can't find a mission for yourself that you
would die for, what do you do?
You look for other people who have a grand mission,
a powerful drive, that cannot succeed without a lot of help
and connect with them.
Maybe it starts in a church.
It could start in this church.
I know we have a mission and we need all the help
we can get.
who have God-given missions and dreams are always thinking
bigger than they are and they always need help.
So if you can't have your own mission and your own
private goal, then be an encourager. Attach yourself to causes that are bigger
than you. Become
a partner to those who have a noble mission.
not the gift that is within you!" (I Timothy 4:14)
mission was to build a church that could change the world! I wear
a medallion only on Sunday mornings, in this pulpit. It is engraved with a prayer I wrote and I read every time
I put it on, "Lord, lead me to the person you want to speak to through my life today."
It is the major core of my mission.
If you start living with this prayer, "Lord,
lead me to the person you want to speak to or touch through
my life today," then you will discover your mission.
Bible and a special text will come to you to help you discover
your mission, There are many Bible texts to motivate you
to discover what the gift is that God has given you. It may be to connect with a neighbor,
to the people who live around you.
Your mission may be to the people who work with you,
the people you meet at the water cooler.
"Neglect not the gift that is in you." Know that you can be a voice for God, encouraging,
not preaching íK not condemning íK not finding fault,
but sharing the love of God.
you are not a follower of Jesus Christ, I very sincerely
close this message with this invitation; decide to follow
Jesus Christ. Then
you will have a mission.
Connect with His mission.
It will show in your life.
You will be a beautiful person and you will have
a joyous tomorrow like you can't imagine.
God, Thank You. You are working in us. We are changing. We are not made of brick or stone. We can think, we can feel and we see You
at work in the world and we want to be a part of sharing
your love all around us.