(Jason Clement with new friends at Return Ministries during Man-Up trip in 2011.)
Something odd happened during my morning routine before work the other day: I was looking in the mirror while adjusting my hair, and I realized that my Dad was staring back at me. This realization of ‘advancing age’ caused me to reflect, “What is my mission in life?” As I enter the pending mid–life realization, I am grateful for no desire to buy a sports car or consider toupees. However, the questions do come to mind: “Do I live a productive life? How have I responded to the time I have been given? What is my purpose, and am I fulfilling it?”
What is my purpose? God makes it clear within the Bible that we are not to get handcuffed and suffocated by the mundane of our worldly lives (Romans 12:2) by raising our optic to an eternal perspective. The New Testament is devoted to glorifying God by receiving His unearned grace through the acceptance of His son, Jesus Christ, as our Lord, Savior, teacher, and one true path to God. If Jesus is truly our Lord, we are to follow his teachings and commands, and in doing so, demonstrate God’s glory through our lives.
God has provided me with time, resources, and opportunities with intention. In Matthew 25:14-29, Jesus shares a parable of various talents given to 3 men by a master. Two of those men utilized those talents wisely to which the master responded, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
God has provided all of us with talents, and I deeply desire to hear, “Jason – well done my good and faithful servant”. I know He is pleased when I am utilizing the talents God has given me to impact His kingdom by being obedient to His “tugging” in my life. One of the most influential ways this occurs for me every year is when I am in Africa spending time with orphans, God’s African children, and participating in international missions. RESPOND TO HIS CALL TO GO…SERVE…MAN-UP AND LOVE THE NATIONS.
What does the Man Up experience mean? It is the invitation to fulfill part of our purpose and potential in response to why we were created. We serve African children, women, and men in Uganda, Ethiopia, and (hopefully) Kenya soon by:
1. Glorifying God in serving others. Specifically orphans and widows (James 1:27).
Jesus’s example is servant leadership and Love. We follow that example through international and Africa missions specifically dedicated to orphan care and African children, widows, and single mothers. We play, sing, dance, and share about Jesus.
(Members of the 2013 Man Up Team at Home Again Ministries.)
2. Respond to Jesus’s call to make and teach disciples of all nations.
One of His commands often called “The Great Commission” is to “go and make disciples of all the nations” and “teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you” (Matthew 28:18-20). While I personally fall well short of Jesus’s standard too often, I have great hope in my life thanks to His grace. And in reflection, I have found that I am most encouraged, joy-filled, content, and fulfilled when I am following Jesus’s teachings and commands spending time with African children, encouraging our ministry partners in Uganda/Ethiopia, and investing the “talents” God has provided me within international missions. In addition to spending time with the African children, we also participate in “men’s conferences” where those of us that are comfortable participating get to encourage and speak about the promise in Jesus and how He influences and leads us in our daily lives as husbands, fathers, and all that we struggle with as men.
3. Encourage one another to a rich and satisfying life in Christ.
Not just a productive life, not just good, but great – abundant – the best. That is what the Lord desires and promises. We often settle for average and mundane. As we approach mid-life (or early or late life for that matter), we can find disappointment when searching for the fulfillment of our potential and promise. God promises through the following of Jesus Christ – rich, satisfying, and abundant life (John 10:10). I am thankful for the invitation from God to accept abundant life and the challenge to His command of encouraging disciples of all nations. God has been faithful that for the past 4 years when I responded to his “tug” or “command” in world missions, Africa missions, and Africa children; the result has been an exciting and rich experience provided in the Man-Up trips.
(Jason Clement enjoying a view of the Nile River as part of the 2013 Man Up trip to Uganda.)
I encourage, invite, and challenge anyone wishing to experience abundant life by glorifying God’s name in responding to Jesus’s command. Join us in the Man Up Movement! We have exciting trips planned to Africa beginning in late May.