Mission Impossible?

I was saddened by the recent passing of actor Peter Graves. Who can forget his portrayal of the clueless Captain Oveur from the movie Airplane?

Tower voice: Flight 2-0-9′er cleared for vector 324.
Roger Murdock: We have clearance, Clarence.
Captain Oveur: Roger, Roger. What’s our vector, Victor?
Tower voice: Tower’s radio clearance, over!
Captain Oveur: That’s Clarence Oveur. Over.
Tower voice: Over.
Captain Oveur: Roger.
Roger Murdock: Huh?
Tower voice: Roger, over!
Roger Murdock: What?
Captain Oveur: Huh?
Victor Basta: Who?

But my fond memories of Peter Graves centered on a show from the the mid-sixties called Mission Impossible. The show featured one of the best theme songs in TV history. I remember waiting anxiously each week for the crew’s new mission led by Grave’s character Jim Phelps. I remember imagining myself as an IMF (Impossible Missions Force) agent. Becoming a secret agent was an unlikely career path out of Southern Ohio especially when I shifted the next day to imagining myself as a major league baseball player. Hard to reconcile those two paths unless you are Moe Berg (look him up).

I loved the opening of the show when Jim Phelps got his “mission”. There was a convoluted scene where Phelps would receive a secret tape and a packet with information about the mission. He popped the tape in the machine and heard the details of the task ahead. The conclusion was always something like this.

“Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to (whatever the mission). As always, should you or any of your IM force be caught or killed, the Secretary will disavow any knowledge of your actions. Good luck, Jim. This tape will self-destruct in five seconds.”

And the tape would start smoking and presumably burn up. 

I never joined the IMF but I did receive a mission when I decided to follow Jesus. Some think the mission is impossible. I received the mission not from a secret tape but from a revealed Word. Here is the text of that mission from the Gospel of Matthew.

“Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest mission. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you.”

Uhhhhh….is there another mission? This one does seem impossible when I look at the mission from my human frailties. Seriously? Me? You know me God. I can’t do this. And at that point of recognition of my need to trust God totally the mission becomes possible. When I ponder the grace that God extended to me I am amazed. When I believe that Jesus endured the Cross for my sin I am moved. When I understand that I have been changed into a new creation imbued with the righteousness of Christ I am humbled. When I depend on the power of Holy Spirit and not my own self-sufficiency I am bold. The mission is impossible if I try to do it. The mission is possible with Christ.

There is one huge difference in the SOP (standard operating procedures) of the IMF and God. The IMF and the Secretary will disavow any knowledge of your actions if you fail. In my mission the Lord Jesus will stand with me if I fail. He will never disavow me no matter how miserably I execute the mission. His Word never self-destructs. And His conclusion to the mission was a bit more encouraging.

“Be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28, NLT)

Because of that truth the mission is entirely possible.