by Kari Stewart on October 27, 2022
According to a Barna Study released this year, 43% of practicing Christians do not know what the Great Commission is.
Missions and missionaries have been part of my life since I was a little girl growing up in the churches that my parents pastored. I grew up knowing that God’s heart for missions is woven throughout God’s Word, from Genesis to Revelation.
When I read the above statistic, it was an “ah-ha” moment for me not to assume that just because someone has accepted Christ as the Lord of their life, they know what God’s greatest invitation to us as Christ followers is. My heart leaped as I realized that I must be an active participant in sharing this gospel truth.
Through Missions, God wants to use us to make the name of Jesus known in our communities, in our country, and around the world!
That is an exciting truth, but also intimidating. How can God use me? There are so many arguments that we could present to God on why he wouldn’t want to use us, but those arguments are often viewed from a skewed perspective of ourselves.
Remember Noah. It hadn’t rained, and God asked Noah to build a boat — a BIG boat! What about Moses with a speech impediment called to lead the Israelites out of slavery? A little boy named David, the smallest of the sons of Jesse, was God’s anointed one.
Size, talent, and resources are not measuring sticks that God uses when He presents His children with an opportunity to serve Him. He is looking for a willing heart that will be obedient to the call.
The biblical basis for missions begins in Genesis 1:28: “Then God blessed them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on earth.’”
This “Creation Mandate” shows Adam and Eve were meant to expand and nurture what God had established. After their fall into sin, the world changed, but God’s vision did not. The Great Commission in Matthew 28 is a reaffirmation of the mandate and blessing of joining God in achieving his original plan for creation:
“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Let’s look back just a little bit in Matthew 28 when the angel and the Lord himself appear to the women at the tomb. Both tell the women to go back and tell the brethren (disciples) to leave for a specific mountain in Galilee and that Jesus will meet them there.
Verse 16 tells us that eleven disciples proceeded to the mountain in Galilee Jesus had told them to go. Galilee is about 120 miles from Jerusalem. Never before have I wondered about this, but why did Jesus have them go to Galilee? Couldn’t he have met them right there in Jerusalem?
The disciples were obedient, and Jesus met them where He told them He would be, so when Jesus states at the end of verse 20, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age,” they knew that Jesus was a truth teller — He would always be with them!
The same is true for us!
Dear God — Ignite our hearts with the truth that whatever invitation you extend to us to be a participant in your Great Commission, you will equip us and you will always be with us. May our hearts be open to exploring the mission opportunities before us, and may we respond with obedience to your call. In Jesus' name, we pray this prayer. Amen.