What does it mean to be on a mission? And what kind of effort does one put into any mission, generally speaking?
One of the hardest things to ever do is to be fully committed to something. It is one thing to have a soccer ball and maybe play once a year, but it is another thing to be fully committed to the game. To practice the sport day-in and day-out, to develop a genuine love for the game. The sport becoming who you are. When a soldier commits to serving in the military, he or she is not just taking on any job. The soldier is taking a job that requires sacrifice of self and service to country. The missions soldiers go on are not easy tasks, nor are they vacations. Missions and combat are what soldiers have trained so much for. The purpose of soldiers is to be ready to defend the nation, even if it means in combat.
When we talk about Christians participating in God’s Mission, we are talking about something much more than attending services and living a righteous life. Concerning Missions and World Evangelism as they pertain to Christianity and the Church, Roger E. Dickson says the following:
“One of our problems is that we have not been serious about world evangelism. We have been playing around on the job, toying with it, but not really working at it. Oh yes, it is in style for a congregation to be doing some mission work. We wouldn’t want to be caught not doing any of it. What group would say that they don’t believe in mission work at all, that they are not going to do any of it, that they are not going to use any of their money to take the gospel to others? Yet, we are doing just enough to say that we are doing something. That’s why we are not evangelizing the world. When we make up our minds that we are actually going to work toward accomplishment of world evangelism, we will succeed, but not until.”Roger E Dickson “The Call of World Evangelism” page vi
One of the problems we have in the Church today is that we are not wanting to truly take up our cross. Taking up a cross involves more than just Sunday to Sunday worship. It is telling the truth in love it spite of facing possible consequences or difficulties. As Roger E. Dickson stated, we will not succeed until we are going to make up our minds that we are actually going to participate in God’s Mission.
Making Up Our Minds to Go
My High School Cross Country and Track coach always told us “the hardest part of running is putting your shoes on.” In Christianity, the hardest part of running the race set before us is putting our shoes on. When one has been baptized into Christ, they have received the new pair of shoes that is necessary to running the Christian race. (see also Gal.3:27-28; Rom. 6:3-4)
We must do more than just possess the shoes. We must put the shoes on and run the race. Running the race involves being obedient to the Lord’s commands (Rev. 2:10). And if we are striving to be obedient to his commands, then we ought to do what Jesus has commanded us in Matthew 28:19-20. In v. 20, Jesus gives four very plainly stated commands, all of these we often neglect:
- Make Disciples
- Baptize Them
- Teach Them
The next few parts of this series will pertain to the last three commands. However, in making up our mind to participate in God’s mission, we are making up our mind to “Go.”
Where are we to go? In Mark 16:15, Jesus is quoted as saying “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.” We are to go everywhere. Before Jesus ascended up into Heaven to take His place in Glory, he states in Acts 1:8b “you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” We see the Church start in Jerusalem on Pentecost (Acts 2), then we see it spread throughout the entire known world by the time Paul pens his letter to the Colossians (Col. 1:6). The Gospel cannot be spread into and throughout the entire world until it is spread in the community in which it exists now. What I mean by that statement is that we ought to be doing everything we can to get the Gospel to people, not just overseas, but in our own communities.
Let us make up our minds to “Go.”