My grandfather had a little phrase, a real “southernism,” that he constantly used whenever somebody asked if he intended to do something.
“I’m aiming to,” he would respond.
I was never quite sure if he meant by it that he was fixing to get ready to do it or that he had gotten started on it and just hadn’t finished it yet.
I thought about this little phrase when I reread David Bosch’s “Transforming Mission” and stumbled upon a definition of mission that I missed on my first few readings, probably because the book is so dense and so chock-full of thought-provoking insights on the mission of God in the world that it is impossible to absorb. But, on a second read, I caught it—on p. xv, of all places!
“Mission,” Bosch says, “is that dimension of our faith that refuses to accept reality as it is and aims at changing it.”
I really like this one. It brings “mission” home to me by reminding me that anytime I look around and notice that something isn’t right in the world, that there’s no wholeness in it, no love in it, no gospel or good news in it, and I decide to do something about it, then suddenly I’m on mission in the world.
And it doesn’t much matter what sort of “something” it is. What I mean by that is that it doesn’t much matter whether what I see is a spiritual matter that needs fixing within me or another person or an injustice that needs fixing within a community of people. The point is that it needs fixing.
And I’m called to fix it.
And what I also know is that it really does matter what I mean when it comes to God’s mission in the world and I say, “I’m aiming to.” Hopefully it means that I’ve gotten started on it and just haven’t finished it yet.
It doesn’t much help if I’m still just fixing to get ready to.