Are We A Great Commission People with a Great Commandment Heart?
Just a few weeks ago our family was blessed greatly to be a part of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Annual Meeting in Phoenix, AZ. Amid the flurry of activity connected with the convention, a common spirit and theme permeated all the meetings. Instead of great debates or complacency the theme of being a Great Commission People with a Great Commandment Heart was seen in the way business was conducted and in the way missionaries were commissioned. On the final night of the convention there was a challenge for the messengers to commit to lead their churches to embrace one of the unreached people groups in our world. At the invitation to commit to such leadership Robbie stood up and walked to me and asked why we weren’t going down to commit yet. I asked him if he understood what it meant to make that commitment. He told me, “Daddy, I know it will glorify God.”
Have you thought about what it means to be a Great Commission people? Looking at Matthew 28:18-20, at the very least this would mean that we embrace the making of disciples anywhere and everywhere we go as believers. Discipleship is simply bringing someone alongside of you and teaching them to obey Christ as revealed in his word. Not everyone can be the teacher in front of the church, but everyone can teach one or two individuals close to them how to follow Jesus. Let me ask, do you make disciples? Are you teaching someone to follow Christ? Further if we look at Acts 1:8 we understand that we have a not a checklist – first Jerusalem, then Judea and Samaria, then the ends of the earth – but a category list of types of areas we must be actively reaching at the same time. Do you desire to see Ethiopia won for Christ as greatly as you desire to see Enoree won for Christ?
Though that is often where we end our consideration of being on mission, we cannot cease there. Our motivation for reaching the lost with the gospel cannot be the worthless motivation of obligation. Remember how in the Old Testament God was no longer pleased with the sacrifices of a people who would give the right offerings but withhold their hearts from him. No Jesus told us that the greatest commandment is one that can never be fulfilled merely as a command. He told us that we must love the Lord our God and love others as one’s self (Matthew 22:34-40, Mark 12:28-33). Love is an action, but one that cannot be coerced. When we love someone we naturally are filled with joy at their mention, overwhelmed in their presence, and desire to serve them as long as we can. Do you love Jesus in this manner? Do you desire to mention him in you everyday walk? Are you overwhelmed when you gather with the church family in his presence? Does the Bible overwhelm you? Do you desire to serve Christ? If so, do you take the good news to the lost?
In the end, being a Great Commission People with a Great Commission Heart comes very simply to embodying the attitude of a little child. Why should we go to the lost with the good news? Because when we do that we will glorify God!