Mission accomplishment. That’s the reason Commanders and leaders are placed in important positions. Promotions, rank, and a stellar career all take back seat to the mission. Commanders receive authority to make decisions, about the mission. Commanders are also held responsible for the actions of themselves and their units regarding the mission. The mission is the reason the unit exists; it is the “center.”
Mission failure can happen for many reasons, especially when a commander disregards the importance of centering the unit on the mission. Backbiting, fighting, and lack of respect are natural consequences. Without a purpose, or center, failure is a foregone conclusion.
The prophet Isaiah gives us God’s center, or mission, for our lives. “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn” (Isa. 60:1–3).
Isaiah wants us to know that our mission is to reflect God and His character to a dark world. All else centers on that. He calls us to our mission by initially directing us to “rise and shine” like a parent (and probably not a drill sergeant), communicating the excitement about the possibilities of a new day to his or her child. Isaiah’s optimism is no shallow promise but a promise of the Light Himself. Though there is darkness all around, we have a light that never dies out. It’s our source of protection and power. It’s the reason we exist. That light and glory shine upon us which in turn allows us to shine for others.
Jesus says it this way, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:16). If God is our center, then we are always on mission, anywhere and anytime. He has given us the authority and responsibility to succeed.
So, What is Your Center, Your Mission?
Is your center reaching a certain rank or position so you can call the shots? Have you given everything you have, including sacrificing family, to attain that rank or position? If so, you probably realize by now, the more you give, more is required. It can feel like you’re a hamster on a treadmill, expending energy but getting nowhere. Centering on God means trusting Him for your promotions and positions He wants you to have so that you can shine His light. This is much more than sharing the gospel with your unit. It’s being in a position to accomplish good, doing what’s right, and ensuring justice is done. It’s protecting the weak, helping those with trauma, providing for needs. It’s reflecting God’s character (justice, mercy, grace, kindness, faithfulness, etc.) in each and every situation.
Is your center being perfect? Do you study, make improvements, and do everything you can to reach perfection, but are frustrated that perfection is unattainable? Excellence and precision are important to our military way of life and reflect God’s character, but maybe the need for perfection says more about you than it does about God. And maybe you use perfection to avoid being vulnerable or as a way to forget about trauma. Perfectionism, however, has a way of dominating your life. God wants you to do your best, but He also wants you to realize you will never be perfect. He sent His Son because you can never be perfect. Pursue excellence instead of perfection, acknowledging you need Jesus every step of the way.
Your center could be family or experiencing life to the fullest. Or maybe you don’t know what your center is, but today needs to be the day you reorient yourself to the True Center. The change will make all the difference.