So a few weeks back, I was doing some foundation stuff. It was late, Isaiah was in bed, Paul was on the road and I was working on some golf tournament prep, some party stuff for our coming Isaiah’s Smiles “Senior” Prom, and I was convicted. Right here in my office chair, in the quiet of the evening with no toddler feet running around, just the sound of my keyboard tapping and a the air conditioning occasionally kicking into gear (yes, it’s still super hot in Florida!).
I was typing our mission statement for a piece we are working on and I was bothered. It was just a word. A really really little word. But it didn’t sit right with me. I grabbed my pen, a scrap piece of paper and wrote on it “Paul/Dowd mission statement?” as a reminder to ask for spiritual guidance and prayer. That piece of paper is still sitting next to my laptop with many of the items crossed off. I should grab my pen and cross off that note to myself too. Because here’s the deal: our mission statement was wrong.
That’s right. This entire time, since 2009 when Paul and I prayed about what we wanted our mission statement to be, we’ve gotten it wrong. It’s one word. Three letters. And it’s wrong. Our mission statement read:
to achieve great things for God by lending a helping hand, providing hope and healing hearts for children.
And there it is. That one little word. For. FOR. We blew it. Confused? Let me help. The bible isn’t about us. Salvation isn’t about us. It’s not about me or you and what we’ve done or what we will do. It’s about what’s already been done for us on the cross! John Piper says it this way: “…we easily buy into worldly thinking that claims our identity comes from what we do instead of what God has done. We have wrongly believed that we’re human doings instead of human beings.” There is nothing, absolutely NOTHING, we can do FOR God. Every single thing we do as believers is THROUGH him. Oh, we’re on a mission all right. But it’s not so that we can earn some favor with God by doing what He called us to do, or by checking it off the list. No, we established our Tesori Family Foundation on the biblical principles, again, pointed out by John Piper back in 2015 in God’s Big Work and Your Little Mission (yeah… I know… the perfection here is not lost on me either):
- We do what we do because of what we believe he has done.
- We love because we are loved by him first.
- We serve because we were served by Jesus first.
So we just had it wrong. Not in hearts, perhaps, but in our minds. In our semantics. And it matters. When Paul got back from the road and we had some quiet time one night, he and I talked about it. It was a VERY quick conversation. We were in complete agreement. The word had to change. The following morning I sent an email to our board: Wanda, Wes, Rob and Carrie. Within an hour or two, we unanimously agreed we had to change our mission statement to the following:
to achieve great things through God by lending a helping hand, providing hope and healing hearts for children.
I never even made it to Dowd, who I almost always reach out to when I have questions about how I’m being convicted spiritually (this’ll be a fun chat at Sea Island, my sweet Dowd!). Here’s the thing. It’s never too late to get it right. And it’s our responsibility, along with our board, to make sure we are all operating the foundation in line with our mission. And our mission was wrong. Plain and simple. So we made a change. Effective immediately. Again… I borrow from the incredible John Piper:
We don’t have to do anything to become someone, but we get to and want to do what we do
because of what God has done to and for us, and is and will before us,
and who we now are in Christ.
Think of it this way:
What God has done to us he now wants to do through us to the world.
And there it is. Our foundation, as Pastor Joby likes to say, is not a cul-de-sac but a conduit of God’s love for us, expressed through us to the world. But it’s not our doing. It’s HIS. We can’t do anything to earn His grace, or His love or His acceptance. That price was paid on Calvary with the blood of the cross. And THAT, as Paul says, will preach.
Thanks for your continued support of our foundation, and your support of our mission, even when we didn’t have it quite right. We look forward to continuing to serve, with just a few added letters in our mission that make all the difference in the world!
Click the link to read more from John Piper on God’s Big Work and Our Little Mission.