A quick Internet search about how animals gather and travel reveals thousands of articles. Scientists offer observations on animal behavior and conclusions about why they act in such manners. They give reasons for protecting one another or keeping the proper pace. Internet factoids abound about the goose that takes the lead of the formation having the hardest position and the leader of a wolf pack taking up the rear to ensure no one is left behind. We have a fascination about where the one with the most strength travels.
The spiritual path we travel is often treacherous. Our mission is one to be embraced, but we sorely lack the power to accomplish it. In fact, the work left to us by Jesus is so impressive that we named it The Great Commission. Take a moment to read it from Matthew 28:18-20: “Jesus came near and said to them, ‘All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’”
We’re commanded to travel through this life with a particular goal in mind. Our default position is to look for a leader or guardian to get us through it. Feeling underpowered, we need someone to get us from Point A (our salvation) to Point B (winning the rest of the world to Jesus). It’s an overwhelming task.
A Promise Made
The early believers were sent out by Jesus to expand God’s kingdom. But it wasn’t in the same vein as the Roman Empire’s expansion. The emperor had commanded a common language, universally accepted coins, and an unparalleled road system and held a political peace across the land. But God’s kingdom isn’t defined by geography, economics, and politics. Rather, it displays itself wherever the reign of God exists in the human heart. Jesus didn’t command obedience in His absence. He promised something unimaginable.
The core command of The Great Commission from Matthew 28 is “Go, therefore, and make disciples” (v. 19). And Jesus could’ve left it at that, but we’re blessed that He didn’t. Christ begins the commission by reminding us that “all authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth” (v. 18). Then He concludes by assuring us that “I am with you always, to the end of the age” (v. 20). Even as Christ sends us out to do kingdom work, He promises the intimacy of His presence. God’s authority alone is sufficient for the work. His presence alone is sufficient for our comfort.
God’s mission is accomplished through you when His presence is shown in you.
A Caution Needed
It’s here that we need to be reminded of a caution that’s been needed for every generation. Ministry isn’t about having the coolest church. Nor is it the infusion of preferred traditions.
You won’t accomplish it by a powerful intellect that can argue others into the truth. Obeying the commission isn’t about our abilities. It’s about presenting God’s presence to the people of our world. If it becomes something besides that, then all we’ve done is create a new idol.
Some attempt to make disciples through gimmicky ministry events, shocking series themes, ancient traditions, or phantasmagorical events. To fulfill The Great Commission, all we need is all we have: the authority and presence of Jesus. Our salvation is based on the authority of the Savior. Our fulfillment of His command is based on the same truth.
A Beautiful Truth
As Jesus began His ministry, Mark’s Gospel describes this scene: “After John was arrested, Jesus went to Galilee, preaching the good news of God: ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe in the good news!’” (1:14-15). When Jesus stated that the kingdom of God is near, He referred to His own presence among them.
It’s a beautiful truth to both understand mentally and enjoy practically. God’s mission is accomplished through you when His presence is shown in you. Move forward in missional ministry as ambassadors of the King who travels with us by the Holy Spirit.
He’s all you need.