Sunday, February 10, 2013
The Great Commission
If you are a Christian and feeling guilty (as I am) about not being able to do something about the Great Commission, don't. There is something we can do—or may already be doing—about it.
This was the gist of my talk at the district conference of women in over 50 churches recently. I was invited to challenge the attendees into doing missionary work:
"Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20 (NLT)
I felt unworthy because I am no missionary. While praying about it, however, I came upon this verse:
“In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.” Romans 12: 6-8 (NLT)
Let me share with you excerpts from that talk:
I have no authority to preach. I am not a pastor, neither was I ever in Bible school. I have no advice about being a better mother or a better wife or even a better person—because I, myself, have not been an ideal mother nor wife. I don't think I can tell you to be more faithful servants of God, because many times I fail miserably in my faithfulness.
Everything that I know about the Great Commission, women of God like you already know.
Then it dawns on me that not all of us can be a missionary in the sense of 'going out to share the gospel.' We can use our individual gifts right at home to help those who have the gift to proclaim the Word.
I constantly ponder what I have been doing in terms of the Great Commission. Aside from contributing to the Missions fund and praying for our missionaries, I have not been doing much else. The world out there is thirsty for God's Word. They badly need to know about the saving grace of Jesus.
“The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.” Matthew 9:36-38 (NLT)
The salvation of the world is in our hearts. But the means is in our hands. My heart is for mission, but my hands can only write. And yet, I have just been given the confidence as I stand here that each of us has a gift from God.
This is who I am. That is who you are. By what I do, I pray to reach the world through the words that I write. By what you do, I pray that by doing it well, you are helping missionaries reach others that you can't.
Let us remember what we have been promised to help strengthen our faith: “In his grace, God has given us different gifts . . .”
What are you good at? What do you enjoy doing? By doing what we are good at, what we enjoy best, we are using the gift God has blessed us with. And in the process of using this gift, our faith is strengthened in believing, serving, praising and telling others about Jesus—not necessarily by being a missionary in a far-away land—but by using our gift to further the Great Commission.
It isn't always what we say to others, but by what we do to help others—the way we live our lives.
The women laughed, nodded their heads, applauded, gave me a plaque of appreciation, and most of all, they prayed for me—as I will for them.