WHERE I AM RIGHT NOW
“For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin — real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way. Something to be got through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life.” — Fr. Alfred D’Souza
I hate sermons about the Great Commission. I cringe, and something inside me rejects the harsh guilt trip that pastors incite. “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel …” They present this like a new idea or an old one that they just discovered.
Shocking! Here we live, performing our important church duties and now, aha! we forgot that we must be going into all the world to fulfill this command. We hear the sermon, and our minds start constructing a to-do list. Does a short-term missions trip suffice? What about my stint in the inner city? Could I schedule a visit to orphans in Zimbabwe next summer?
But why would Jesus command us to do something that nullifies our lives at present? Why must we “go” somewhere beyond our world to think we live the Great Commission? Can we instead “go” into our own world, the realm we live in daily?
The phrase actually should be translated “as we go”? As we live our lives, we live Christ.
But this is harder. My world at present is not ideal and certainly not lovable. I would rather sprinkle love on a two-week missions trip to Africa while my eyes still see that world as adventurous and romantic. I would rather love quickly when I am tangibly loved back with hugs and squeals of excitement from village children.
But then, what if Africa became my every day, perhaps then America would seem ideal? Or Asia, Australia or some other place scarcely known? I could waste my entire life dreaming of far-off places to fulfill Jesus’ command. It is far easier to see the Great Commission as something on which to embark in the future, rather than something we choose to live every day. It’s easier to regard “God’s will” for my life as something enigmatic and elusive rather than seeing it for what it truly is: what I am doing, here, now, in the present.
God does not want me to strive, molding myself into some contrived version of a model missionary. This is not fulfilling the command and following him. He wants me to arrive at a place that is me, but more fully. He wants me to use my gifts, exercise my strengths, and live my life with a higher vision and purpose. God called the disciples from their professions as fishermen, not to transform them into astronauts but to make them better fishermen as they fished for men. He used tentmakers, carpenters, tax collectors and even prostitutes.
We can go to Kenya and fulfill the Great Commission. We could go to the Starbuck’s around the corner. We could go into our back yard, or our kitchen. These are our worlds, and we must live in them fully, with our eyes open, our minds engaged, and our hearts ready.
What will we see, “as we go?”
What do you think the Great Commission entails?
What does it mean for me?
How would it be different if it really meant, “As you go…?”
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