The Great Commission
Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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 all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28: 16-20
I have been blessed to serve as a Pre-K teacher at our church on Sundays...I am able to share the good news - working toward making disciples - with a group of 4-and 5-year-olds on a regular basis.
Right now, we are actually teaching how Paul fulfilled the great commission (above) as we walk through the book of Acts. The courage and trust he has in the Lord is evident in his unwavering passion toward sharing the good news of Jesus Christ. Paul was up against unbelievers' violent resistance, oppression, imprisonment, threat of execution (eventual execution). Then, I think of my approaching a neighbor (or someone outside my comfort zone) and how that may play out. What's my worst case? An awkward silence? Nothing of the magnitude that Paul faced; he lived his life with more controversy and conflict than I could imagine. And he did it all because the possible outcome was much greater than any pain he would feel from those who didn't believe. Paul wrote, "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain" (Philippians 1:21). He lived to glorify the Lord; and death in this world meant he gained in that his eternal address is in the presence of Jesus.
This past week, I had my 4-year-old stay an extra service with me for some special time as I helped teach the Pre-K class. So we are walking through Acts and he is sitting in my lap listening; the teacher who was speaking mentioned how we are all called to spread the Gospel as Paul did, but we don't have to travel great distances to do so (although, some are called to and that is wonderful and needed). We have an opportunity to share good news with people who are actually very close to us. Our friends at school, our neighbors, just look around you and you will find people who don't know yet. The world needs to hear the Gospel.
Well, my sweet, overflowing-with-love little 4-year-old turns to me with a concerned look on his face and whispers "Does Lottie know Jesus?". Lottie is our next door neighbor. You could see it on his face that his heart ached at the notion of someone he had grown so close to possibly not knowing the Lord. His heart is filled with willing hope to spread it to her if that is the case. He is not hesitating in his desire to share it with her - he doesn't look to the world and take into account what it will think if he shares such wonderful news with someone who may not know it. He inspires me.
I wish I just, without hesitation, saw opportunity to share the good news of our Savior with someone who may not know Him. Too often I live with fear; maybe afraid someone may think I'm overzealous or foolish in my attempt to share something wonderful with them - and it's just that: It's a wonderful thing to share! What harm is it to share something as wonderful as what Christ has done for us and the freedom that brings to the soul? Another hesitation for me is one I am sure we all struggle with in many areas of our life: there is also fear of rejection. But here is the reality about any rejection to the truth of the Gospel: it's not up to me, it's not my burden to bear. Yes, God graciously uses me and my words in His mission, but it's not what I say so eloquently - or conversely (and more likely) super choppy and disjointed - that changes someone's heart; God will work as He has already planned. It's not my doing; it's the Spirit. And wow does that ever take the pressure off!
The Lord has already been working and prepares the heart of His child to hear the truth in His timing. He will equip us perfectly to share the wonderful news of our Savior with our Father's children who are still lost. My prayer for myself and for anyone reading this is that I not let fear of rejection, or someone thinking I might be wrong, stop me from glorifying God. We forget what a life-changing gift that a simple "Do you know Jesus?" could be to someone's soul. I pray for my unrestrained, yet discerning, mission during my short time here on earth. Because if I'm not glorifying my creator, what on earth am I here for?