We’re looking at the final words of Jesus before He ascended into Heaven. Commonly referred to as the Great Commission, it has been largely ignored by American Christians. To refresh our memories, the Great Commission is found in Matthew 28:19-20.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” New American Standard Bible Copyright The Lockman Foundation, La Habra California.
We’re not going anywhere, we’re not making disciples, we’re not baptizing anyone, and we’re not teaching anybody the commandments of Jesus. We’ve delegated all that to the ministerial staff and those “called” to the mission field.
Unfortunately, we individual regular pew sitters are not off the hook. The Great Commission has historically been accepted as applying to all Christians. That’s you and me.
Let’s look at the first part of the commission. We are told to go.
Are you making plans to go anywhere? I’m not either. Are we even open to relocating anywhere to further the Kingdom? Do we pray about going? Have we asked God if He wants us to go anywhere?
Our justification is we “go” to our families or our places of employment or our social organizations. I have no doubt families and coworkers and friends are mission fields. But consider this. In the past five years how many people in your church have relocated to a mission field to become full time missionaries? While some may be called to go to family, coworkers, and friends, shouldn’t many be going the lost in other countries? Not just for a week, but for a lifetime?
The number of full time missionaries is declining. There are over 4.5 billion non-Christians in the world, and most of them are in other countries. Yet, we stay here.
So what was your answer to the question about the number of families becoming full time missionaries? If the American church, with all its available resources, isn’t sending missionaries to the lost, who will? If the American church isn’t actively encouraging its members to become full time missionaries, who will?
We all have our reasons why we can’t go. The disciples had their reasons, too. They went anyway. Most lost their lives. None of them had an easy time on the mission field. Most missionaries today don’t have an easy time on the mission field.
Are we afraid to give up our lives here with all its comforts and conveniences? Does safety trump obedience? Too old? Not enough education? Ill? Tired? Those early missionaries could have claimed all those disqualifications. They went anyway.
I walk over an hour almost every morning, and I use that for my prayer time. The omission of the Great Commission has been weighing heavily on my mind. This past week I’ve been asking God to show me if and where He wants me to go to fulfill the Great Commission. Honestly, I really don’t want to go anywhere. I’m not certain I would hear His answer because of my reluctance to leave my life, and that’s something I really need to work on. He may want me to go somewhere, or He may not.
What about you? Are you asking God if He wants to send you somewhere where it might be inconvenient or dangerous or uncomfortable? If not us, who? The world is lost. Jesus told us to go. Will we?