A Costly Mission
On April 18th, 1942, sixteen B25 bombers took off from an aircraft carrier on a mission later considered as one of the most daring of WW II. The mission was called “The Doolittle Bombing.”
Americans were recuperating from the Pearl Harbor attack by the Japanese who kept on boasting that they were invincible and impenetrable. Americans demanded retaliation. It was then that President Roosevelt approved an idea presented by Lieutenant Colonel Jimmy Doolittle. The mission was simple: sixteen modified B25 bombers would take off from the aircraft carrier USS Hornet which was stationed on the westernmost part of the Pacific Ocean and attack Japan.
There was a problem, however: though that aircraft carrier was long enough for the planes to lift off it was not long enough for them to land. This would be a one-way mission!
They attacked Japan. One of the aircraft ran out of gas and crashed in Russia. Strong winds allowed the other fifteen to crash in a territory in China occupied by the Japanese. Sixty-nine of the eighty airmen were able to return home
What was it the Lieutenant told his pilots? What type of airmen was he looking for? No matter how he delivered the mission to them, he may have said something like this: “I have a challenging mission for you. Its success may well cost you your life. Anyone interested?”
I’m pretty sure that mission was handed to the very best of those airmen. They were probably passionate men, willing to give their lives for their country. It was their turn to put into practice what they had been trained to do, no matter the cost. They believed that protecting their country came before anything else.
For those of us who follow Jesus, there is also a high cost. In His Word, He tells us that following and serving Him will not be easy. He desires passionate hearts willing to give all for Him, just as those brave airmen had done.
This makes me think of the early missionaries who were called to serve in Africa. They packed their belongings in their own coffins because they understood that they would not be returning home. They gave their all so that the message of love could be preached to those in need of it. One of them was buried in the village he had served for thirty-five years. The villagers wrote on his tombstone, “When he came there was no light. When he left there was no darkness.”
How willing are we to step out of our comfort zone to take on the mission of sharing the good news of salvation, knowing that it could cost us relationships and even our lives? Matthew 10:38-39 reads, Whoever does not take up his (her) cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his (her) life will lose it, and whoever loses his (her) life for my sake will find it. Jesus was the perfect example for us all: there is no mission more valuable than to give one’s life for the sake of the Kingdom.
In the busyness of our lives, may we not lose sight of our mission!