When my wife and I got married, one of the Scripture readings was from Matthew:
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. —Matthew 5:14-16
It was a thing for us to be a family that was like a city on a hill, a place that might provide comfort, rest, some sort of point of hope, and refreshment for others who might just be on a journey through a valley that they wished they weren’t in.
That was a kind of mission statement for us. How well we’ve done is another story. As with all organizations’ missions, sometimes you nail it. Sometimes not so much.
That said, just writing this down here reminds me of how powerful being driven by a mission can be.
And since the day I’m writing and publishing this post is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I’m struck by the power that can be unleashed into the world when an individual or group is driven by an overarching purpose or mission.
I hate that things are as racially charged as they are these days, but I don’t think anybody would dispute that King’s work had a hugely powerful impact. And it still does.
But since I’m not an expert on civil rights, I won’t try to wax eloquently on his work there.
I will, however, take this one idea from his life: He was a man on a mission with a singular over-arching purpose – a dream, as you may recall – that could, and eventually did kill him. He was willing to fight against prevailing thought and deeply entrenched points of view and political, religious, and cultural systems because he had a powerful, clear mission. And he took consistent action in keeping with that mission.
So today, were you to ask me for an assignment, I’d suggest you consider the example of MLK, Jr as a man on a mission, a man with a singular, overarching, values-based mission.
Take that example and allow yourself to be challenged, not only by his specific mission (we could all benefit from that exercise, too) but also by the fact he had one in the first place: a risky mission into which he leaned hard.
If you’re not clear on your mission, take some time to get clear.
If you’re not taking action on a mission you know you have, start taking action. One thing. Do it.
While you’re getting clear on your mission or taking action on it, I have some work to do myself. This city on a hill ain’t going to build itself.
What some good Martin Luther King Jr. info – maybe listen to a speech or three? Click here to go over to biography.com.