A number of months ago I began to ponder the Great Commission.
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.
I began pondering this as an internal response to yet again, “invite your friends and neighbors to come to this event…”. I think inviting people is a great idea. I do. But aren’t we commanded to Go? I don’t see Jesus saying, “Make people come to you and make disciples…” He doesn’t say, “Invite people to come to your church event and make disciples..”. He says, (You) Go and make disciples…”
Please understand, this pondering was not because I might have had an attitude about being told to invite someone. Not at all. I’ve been hearing phrases like that one for years, and I’ve never stopped to ponder this before. And really I’m as surprised as the next guy that my thoughts went there.
This thought has not been on my mind constantly, but every now and again my brain digs it out and chews on it some more. I recently picked up Radical by David Platt. It’s a book that was extremely popular a couple of years ago, and I determined then I wasn’t interested in reading it, because “everyone else is”.
Yes, I am indeed, a non-conformist.
Mr. FullCup was given the book for Christmas, and I had read one of David Platt’s other books, liked it and wanted to read this one too. Try to imagine my surprise when he talks about this very issue I’d been pondering for a few months.
The commandment to go. Physically I am a citizen of the United States of America, I live here. I was born here. I have a passport that says I am free to travel out of and back into the United States. I am awarded all of the privileges and responsibilities of citizenship. I did not earn the right to live here. I was born here. That makes me a citizen.
Right now more than any other nation on earth, God has blessed my nation. I live in a very rich nation. Our poor do not even come close to comparing with the poor of the world. I am convinced that God blesses the United States for 1 reason:
He does not bless us so we can grow fat on our excess. He doesn’t bless us so we can hoard His blessings. He blesses us so we take what we have been given and give it to the world who so desperately need HIm. We are blessed so we can take His blessing and Go into all the world.
It’s not a calling. It’s a command. It’s not optional. It’s mandatory.
You might be saying, “but I feel burdened (called etc) for the United States” or “I feel burdened for my state/county/town”. That’s a good thing, but it does not negate the command to Go! into all the world.
I’ve heard people say Christianity in the US will die out if we all go overseas. I find that faulty logic at best. I have heard the reason Christianity is no longer in Europe is they sent out all the best missionaries.
In other words, they followed the Great Commission and Christianity died out because of it? Do we honestly think that way? If we obey God, if we follow His commands, He will cause Christianity to die out?
Could it be that while they did send out, they did follow the Great Commission, they left the back door open by not continuing to train the next generation? The problem is not that they followed the Great Commission. The problem is they stopped raising up people to go.
It isn’t that people have to move overseas to Go. I’m not saying that at all. Look at Paul. He traveled around the known world, reaching people with the Gospel of Jesus, yet he always returned to his home base. He left with others, some times even leaving them in towns along the way so they could “raise up faithful men” to carry on the work.
While everyone thinks the Go in the Great Commission means moving overseas, it doesn’t. At least not only moving permanently overseas. It means going. It means replicating ourselves. It means raising up others to carry on the work while we go back, train others and start all over.
It means using whatever means God has blessed us with to Go. If we’re a businessman, it means thinking how we can use our business to bring God glory in the world. It might mean taking our trade to other countries as a missionary. If we’re in the medical field, it might mean taking medical mission trips to minister for God’s glory.
In light of this, I have a dream and I’m praying about the realization of that. I want to be used to go. I want to be used to bring Him glory. I want to honestly say, with Isaiah, “Here I am, send me.”