Writing one's mission
March 29, 2006
Cal, an older brother and arguably one of the best known medical scientists in Canada, in the 1980s pioneered organ transplants and since then has been at the forefront of medical advance and research in Canada and worldwide.
I heard him give the above line at an award dinner at the University of Western Ontario. His acceptance was, "My mission in life is to ease pain and extend life." All that he did, his life in training and discipline could be reduced to that six word mission.
What is mine? Setting aside the goals of this year, the details of organization, the stuff of daily work, I ask what is my life about?
In my early years, my ministry hero was Jay Kesler, then president of Youth for Christ/USA. In the context of his influence, I Chronicles 12:32 became my life verse. David, in rebuilding Israel recruited those who would help. One group was the Sons of Issachar (pronounced "Is-a-car"): they had an understanding of their times and knew what Israel should do. That mission took hold of me and defined my call.
It doesn't ring as clear as does my brother's, but this biblical text helped shape what I do. It became a framework of how I go about doing my work: what matters is first to know the setting—the context, perceptions, facts, realities, opportunities, needs and possible troubles. From that I decipher a plan of action.
That's important, for as our Board chair reflects, "Stiller's style is to shoot first, then aim." I need the discipline of analysis, as I too quickly intuit the need and from that devise a plan. I need the resistance that analysis requires. It holds me back. It refines my thinking. It keeps me from making too many mistakes.
Underlying my motivation—why I do what I do—is to influence people to love and serve Christ. In my sinfulness, my motivation is to please the Lord: when I cross the divide, I so want to hear, "Well done. Enter into your reward."
Even so, my life would be lived with much greater clarity and vigor if I would more definitely say each morning in the shower, "Today, Lord..."
Lord of faith, and The One Who Calls, help me with focus in my tomorrows. I know that some days I begin with clear purpose, while other days I just seem to stumble into agendas. For too many meetings I arrive only because they are in my Blackberry. So Lord, giver of wisdom, may I be wise enough to know what really matters. Amen.
My mission in life is to ease pain and extend life.