Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Great Commission- Can we be Real?

So I've been thinking a lot about missions lately.

On the news there's war right here in America and war in the Middle East and ebola is running rampant in Africa.

Kind of makes a person just want to crawl in the bed and cover their head up, or at least dive into a book and escape from it all.

I mean, what can one individual do to heal the huge gaping wound in our world today?

You can't put a bandaid over an amputation.

Still, last week my Pastor preached on the Great Commission.  And last night the Bible lesson on Wednesday night, at a different church, talked about the Great Commission.  And I was reminded when Kami got back from Guatemala that in Acts we, the modern church, were given that commandment. 

You know the one, if you were raised in church.

And even if you aren't a church goer, you can probably guess, based on the concept of loving our neighbors.

In Matthew, it's in red letters. "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen." (Matthew 28:19-20) It's in red letters in Mark, too. "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.  And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;  They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover." (Mark 16:15-18).  In Acts, we are told: "...and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." (Acts 1:8)

It's a command.  All parts of the world.  All creation.  At home.  To our neighbors.  To all the world.

But it is hard.

It's hard when we're tired and we don't want to speak to the person next to us.  It's hard when the person in front of us at the convenience store is scratching lottery tickets when we really just want to pay for our Diet Coke and get to running for the day. It's hard when our kids ask us just one more question that we don't really know the answer to.

It's hard to love the unloveable, and even harder to love when we are hurt.

It's too easy to slip back into those fleshly tendencies of me first and you never, of hurting back when others wound us, of putting up walls so no one can get close.

Yet, if we aren't witnesses, who will be?

Our nation is slipping down the morality slope.  Fewer young people are choosing to go to church, and many of those who do are met with a feel good message of love and grace... which I am all for, except that we must have personal accountability. Jesus loves me for all of my messes, but that doesn't mean that He wants me to stay that way.  And just like I learned really quickly that while mudpies may be fun to make, they really don't taste the best in the world, once we turn to Jesus we should realize that the mess we made in the past doesn't need to be repeated.

Because who wants to follow a messenger who is still stuck in mire and muck?

Too many times I've heard people say that they don't go to church because of hypocrisy.  We can get angry at this statement, but I've found that most of the time when we become angry and defensive about something, it is often close to the truth.  Some Christians do not appear to be very nice people.  Sometimes I'm afraid that I am one of them.

And He expects me to be His messenger to all of the world? 

Lord, help us all. 

So as I pondered the mission field last night, I thought again how nice it would be if God would speak to us in neon lights.  I know He has a purpose for my life.  He tells me this in His Word.  And ultimately, my purpose is about loving Him and loving others, and this scares me, because quite frankly, I'm not the best in the world at this.

And also I like to think of things on a grand scale... and many others do, too, I'm sure.  When I think of missions, I think of Prince of Peace, where Kami's sole purpose that week was to love on little girls.  And I must admit that I'm a little jealous, because that would be awesome...

But sometimes I can't even love the person next to me.

My mission isn't the world... although it could be, and maybe someday He'll see fit to send me to love on some babies.

Right now, though, my mission is Wallace and Caleb.  It's my nursing students.  It's 26 volleyball girls who I pray for as I hang up their uniforms after washing them. It's the lady in front of me at Walmart who looks like she's struggling.  It's the patient I'll care for when I go to clinical.  It's those people that I see everyday, but most of the time don't even really see.

The Great Commission was full of action words. "Go." "Teach." "Preach." "Witness."

We're given power to do these things.  We're told if we love Him, we'll keep His commandments.  We'll show what we believe.

Through love.  Through reaching others.  Through being a light.

Even when we feel like we are burning out. 

The time is short... and the field is ripe for harvest.

There's a whole world out there that needs Him... far off.  And close to home.  Maybe even sitting at this computer.

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