Week 1, Day 2
The Great Commission, Not the Good Suggestion
By: Brit Porter
16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted.18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
If someone were to walk up to me on the street and ask, “How do you describe yourself?”, there are many possible answers I could give. I’m a wife and mother, an active church-goer, a former PTA President, an avid reader, and a slightly crazy, totally devoted corgi owner. However, there’s one word I would never use to describe myself – missionary. I tell myself, “Missionaries are folks who travel far and wide, often living in countries I’ve never heard of. They’re the faces I see on fridge magnets asking for prayer or the names I hear during morning announcements at church. In my book, missionaries are people who choose to leave all that they know to do ‘the Lord’s work’ in strange and uncomfortable surroundings. I am definitely NOT a missionary.”
However, when I look to the Bible, I see that Jesus has something very different in mind for His missionaries. The passage in Matthew known as the Great Commission is often used to encourage missionary work abroad, but I believe that’s only one way of looking at it. After all, most of us don’t choose to live beyond our country’s borders, so does this mean the Great Commission doesn’t apply to us? Jesus states quite clearly in verse 19, “GO and make disciples of all nations.” This isn’t a polite request – it’s a direct command. With that in mind, we can also read the Great Commission as a call to action to simply tell everyone we know about Jesus.
My kids attend our local neighborhood school, a place filled with students of all colors, languages, and races. By volunteering there on a regular basis, I have gotten to know many teachers and staff. Recently, I was talking to our son’s former teacher about the possibility of a teacher strike, and she asked me to “please, please pray that the school board and union would come to a resolution before school starts.” Frankly, I was blown away that she asked me for prayer, but as I was praying that night for our school and teachers, I kept thinking, isn’t this the point? Isn’t this the reason I’m here? Friends, is this not a response to Jesus’s command of “GO and make disciples?” My mission field is the school, and when I choose to see it in this light, my work there is that of a missionary.
What are easy ways to make connections with the people you see regularly? The Great Commission isn’t as daunting as we’ve made it out to be. It’s not about being in a different place, but about living with purpose. Rethink the way you see your everyday life. An easy way to start is to consider your relationship with your community. How do you engage with your coworkers, child’s school teachers, neighbors, or the checkers at the grocery store? As Jesus reminds us, “I am with you always,” including in your work as an everyday missionary.