Theology Thursday: The Mission Begins in the Mirror

Family has a Christ-centered prayer time around a table

The Grand Canyon University (GCU) mission statement is a practical and powerful call to make a global change through our love for Jesus shining into dark places in the world. We can have many aspirations and goals, we can even accomplish them as those around us give us thanks at our effort, insight and motivation. But, as we look in the mirror before our completed accomplishments or accepted praise, who are we?

When we look at the “love chapter” in 1 Corinthians 13, it begins with a challenge of the emptiness of accomplishment without love. “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing,” (1 Corinthians 13:1-3, NIV). Note that no matter what is accomplished on the surface, without love, “I am nothing…I gain nothing.”

Beyond all the things we can accomplish in our lives, if we forget to love (especially those close to us) we are seen by God as an empty shell focusing on motion for man rather than faithfulness to the heart and mission of God.

A clear example of this is illustrated with Moses leading over a million people through the desert to the Promised Land. What a job! He orchestrated the work of God by providing the direction and provisions of food and water. Moses even judged community spats as people lived in the conflict of close living quarters. Through all this, Moses sent his wife and two sons to live with his father-in-law. Well, Jethro, his father-in-law, came to him with his wife and sons and some timely wisdom that changed how Moses lived out his mission.

Begin With a Christ-Centered Viewpoint

Moses was loved by his wife Zipporah, when all Egypt was against him. She stood by him. Now, in his busyness, he sent her away with his own sons. His skill and efforts were probably merely a “resounding gong or a clanging symbol,” (as read above) to his wife and sons. Moses had been given a gift and a responsibility of stewardship for his wife and his sons long before he had been entrusted with the Hebrew nation.

In our lives we need to keep Christ as the center. We need Christ to be the center in our homes as much as we do in our vocations and ministry efforts. The true litmus test of effectiveness in living out our mission is if we are dedicated to modeling our mission first, in our homes, with Christ as the center and be an example to a few what we may be attempting to communicate to the many. After all, how our family and close friends perceive us is much more important than the admiration of those to whom we minister.

Compassionate to Those Closest to Us

When we serve in ministry for any length of time, we discover that it will take as much time as we are willing to invest. There is no “big” or “little” ministry, it is all big, or significant, before God. 1 Corinthians 13 illustrates some pretty powerful acts of faith that would attract followers and could potentially build a profound and meaningful ministry. But what about our suite mates if we are students, our spouse, our kids, our closest friends? Are they lost in the shuffle as we pursue our passion for God?

Honestly, learning from experience, they do not care how big our ministry is. They are not impressed with what the world sees as prominent effectiveness or success. They care if you are still willing to help with the dishes and play ball in the backyard. When we lose sight of this, as Moses did, it usually requires a “Jethro” in our lives to sit us down and remind us of what is important and how to order priorities as we live out our mission.

Serving and Supporting Others in Service

A significant element of the GCU mission is to empower others and serve others to promote flourishing in all of life. Moses’ sons, Gershom and Eliezer could learn a lot from their grandfather, but they needed their father. Moses had dedicated every fiber of his being to the rescue and redemption of his people. Imagine the powerful education his sons could have if he would take them along with him and teach them how to fulfill God’s unique mission in life, not just watch from a distance as their father acted on God’s direction. It is a matter doing what God called us to do, but just as important, to lift others around us to accomplish God’s mission in their lives.

The next time you look in the mirror, how effective have you been at living your mission in life among those closest to you? Do others see you as someone out doing their own thing for God, or do they feel the powerful presence of someone who brings them along and lovingly supports those around them in the mission of life for which God has planned?

Read more Theology Thursday and explore theology and ministry programs offered by GCU’s College of Theology today. 


Approved by full-time faculty for the College of Theology on Jan. 12, 2023.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.