Finding Your Version of the Mission
Where do we find our mission? Our goal is to find one that is for the sake of others, "so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God" (2 Cor. 4:16). Paul had his version of this mission; how do we discover ours? Ezra points the way: "For on the first day of the first month he began to go up from Babylonia [on a risky trip 900 miles to revive Jerusalem], and on the first day of the fifth month he came to Jerusalem, for the good hand of his God was on him. For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the Lord, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel” (Ezra 7:7-10).
The short answer: we only find our place in His mission - to glorify Himself through His people’s praise of His grace - through the study of the Law of the Lord, the Bible. Only through the Spirit's work through the Word does "the good hand of [our] God" come to rest upon us.
That phrase means at least two things. It first means a burden from God. God created a burden in Ezra, to see the people of God revived. As we encounter His grace through His Word, we develop a burden to share that grace. Our desires increasingly match God's: to see the praise of His glorious grace multiplied. We grow to rejoice where His grace is praised, and grieve where we see it's not. This joy and grief mixes into a burden that then moves us.
"The good hand of [our] God [being] upon [us]" also means provision. As we keep reading, we see that God inspired King Artaxerxes to lavishly provide what Ezra needed to fulfill his mission. God creates the burden in us, and He creates the courage necessary for us to carry it out (v. 28), by providing all we need.
It all begins with the study of His Word, not to earn his favor, but to see Jesus more clearly. The sight of him cleanses, burdens and moves us. Don't look to others' ministries for your mission. "What is that to you? You follow me!" (John 21:22) Let the study of Jesus, clothed in his Word, be the headwaters of your mission. Then you will be burdened, moved and provided for, not for personal fulfillment or to escape the world, but for the amazing grace of God to be rejoiced over.