“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” – Matthew 28:19-20
In His last words in the book of Matthew Christ commissions us to be disciples that make disciples to all nations. This is a scary thing to fathom and often an immobilizing thing to consider seriously doing in our everyday lives. We feel unequipped to deliver a convicting Gospel message or we feel unworthy to speak of such things. As a lay Christian, we often feel that it is up to the professional Christians to do this, and often leads to complacency when it comes to evangelism. Additionally, we also feel that in our places of work or places of school we are not even allowed to do this. As a teacher in the public school system, I often struggle to reconcile this Great Commission in my everyday life because I am legally bound to suppress it. How then can we bring the Gospel to “all nations,” if we feel weak to such a calling?
Before I discuss how we might rise to such an important calling it is important to level the playing field such that we all understand what Gospel means. The Gospel is not a philosophy. The Gospel doesn’t just tell us to be good people. The Gospel doesn’t just speak of an action Jesus did long ago. The Gospel is the Good News of what Jesus did, is currently doing and will do in our lives. As we follow Jesus we begin to see all of life through the lens of the Gospel and it transforms us to trust and depend on Him more, and through recognizing our own Gospel stories we are able to live the new better life He has for us. This transformation is so groundbreaking that we can’t help but live out the gospel and recognize it as worthy of sharing – worthy of mobilizing all of our energy towards. The Gospel is manifested in us and through us and we must believe that Jesus is working in us and through us to carry out His work. The Gospel is so much more than a philosophy.
Yet, the Good News of Jesus Christ shatters this notion. In Romans 8, Paul reminds us that the Spirit of God “lives in you.” For those that are in Christ Jesus, the Spirit of God dwells in them. As such, you are brought into the Family of God; you are a child of God and a servant of the King. You are a missionary in the world empowered by the same Spirit that was with Christ. With this Spirit comes the power to proclaim the Gospel of Christ. You do not need to be a professional Christian to have the ability and the currency to share what Jesus did for people, with people. As a follower of Christ you have within you the Spirit of God that will embolden you to speak into the lives of people that you do life with.
If we then have the power to be on mission for God, when and where does this mission begin? The short answer is, yesterday. You are on mission right now. Charles H. Spurgeon says in his book, The Sword and the Trowel, “Every Christian is either a missionary or an imposter.” He doesn’t beat around the bush with that one. He reminds us that one of the fundamental callings of a follower of Jesus is to make other followers of Jesus. So to return to the question of when and where does our mission begin, the answer is elaborated by saying that not only has your mission already begun your mission field is everywhere. As a follower of Christ, you are always on mission. Everywhere you go, whatever you do, you are on mission. Furthermore, whomever you do these things with are the people you are to minister to. God has placed these people in your path to share the Gospel of Christ with.
You are always on Mission for God.
As a teacher, I know what it means to “always be on.” With 30+ hormonal fourteen year olds around me all day I know what it means to be ready for anything. For example, not even my lunch hours are my own. Between a few bites of sandwich I find myself tutoring or helping kids, discussing girlfriend or boyfriend issues, supervising the playground rituals, breaking up fights, and having lunchtime meetings to discuss upcoming field trips.
But to always be on Mission for God, I am learning what this means.
How do we do this? How do we spend our entire lives being on Mission? To be honest, it sounds exhausting! One thing that God has been showing me is: that even though I may have only recently realized that I am always on mission, I have already been doing lots of missionary work. God has designed us in such a way that we desire rhythms. We desire to have routine and schedule. This centers us and aligns us. So within these everyday rhythms we are on mission and can continue to be on mission.
In Jeff Vanderstelt’s book Saturate: Being Disciples of Jesus in the Everyday Stuff of Life, he discuss rhythms. He picks on six specific rhythms that we as humans already do. “We eat, work, play, rest, celebrate, create, interact give and do many other things.” One that God has been recently revealing to me over and over is the idea of Blessing – Gospel Blessing. I am only beginning to understand what this means in my life, so I encourage you to think and pray about this as I am doing. It says in 1 Thessalonians 2:8
“so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.”
Everybody has been blessed. How they define it may be different, but everyone could pinpoint something in their life that has been a blessing to them. But as followers of God we must remind ourselves that we have been blessed by God to be a blessing to others. For God’s blessing is made available to all those who are close to God and those who are far from God as well – and often it is God’s people that must bring the blessing to those who don’t know Him.
Paul writes to the Church in Thessalonica to encourage them and remind them of why he and his disciples continue to bless them. They care for the congregation and are delighted to do so because of the Gospel. Paul gives of his life for those he ministers to for the sake of the Gospel. He cares for these people because he has been cared for. He ministers to them because he has been ministered to. He blesses them because God first blessed him.
How do we live on mission and bring the Gospel to everyone in our lives, one practical way – we bless them. This does not just mean throwing money at them or doing things out of compulsion. It means that truly blessing others in the name of Jesus because He first blessed us. Give to others because God first gave to you. Bless others because God first blessed to you. Blessing reveals the heart of God and is a tangible way to discuss openly with people what Jesus has done. If you bless someone, they may ask you, “why have you done this for me?” What power and ability to you now have to speak the truth of the Gospel, “I am doing this because Christ first blessed me.”
“Jesus removed the great debt of our sin through His death on the cross so we might be debt free – fully forgiven. Now we get to bless others in the light of this rich blessing.”
This excites me.
I love to help people! I love to bless people! Don’t we all?
Now, continue to do what you are already doing, but do so not out of yourselves, do so out of the richness of blessing that you have received from God. How powerful is that?