It’s been said that if your theology doesn’t change your behavior, it will never change your destiny. The primary idea behind this is that Christians are not to be complacent; whether it is personally through sanctification or outwardly in service and leadership. Not only are these necessary principles for modern Christian lives, but Jesus Christ taught, lived by, and exemplified these implications Himself.
One of the most well-regarded passages advocating the principle of service and leadership in the Bible is from Matthew 28:19-20, given from Jesus Christ Himself; commonly referred to as the Great Commission. In this section, Jesus says, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” This is a simple declaration for us not to be complacent in our pursuits as Christians.
In his book The Old School Advantage: Timeless Tools for Every Generation, CEO, entrepreneur, and business author J.N. Whiddon discusses the importance of the word “mission,” and how its meaning is profound and emphatic. In an interview discussing this topic, Whiddon explains that the word “deals with not just a goal or a purpose on its own, but it’s the motivation behind it and strong conviction. It speaks to a calling.”
As one commentator noted, we Christians have a mission called the Great Commission. This is our calling. Jesus prayed in John 17:3, “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”
Dr. Frank Turek comments, “The goal of life is to know God and to make Him known. Not just to know intellectually, but to know relationally, to know personally.” Drawing back to Whiddon’s commentary, this is our mission.
To be effective agents in fulfilling our mission, we must first be in connection with He who sent us. When someone is sent on a task or mission, the sender has effectively communicated the goal and purpose to those he sends. The communication is clear, and both Sender and sent desire the same outcome. Those who go are equipped for the task they have, both verbally through communication and physically for the journey ahead. For us, God’s personal way of communicating with us is through prayer.
The Gospels record Jesus equipping and preparing His disciples for their mission. He warns them, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). He equips them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one” (Luke 22:36) He blesses them, “Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me” (John 17:11-12).
Jesus does not just pray for His disciples personally, but He prays for us as well. In John 17:20-23, Jesus prays for all believers, both in His time and the time to come. In His words, Jesus says: “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me” (20-23).
We are saved by faith alone, but not by faith that is alone. God expects us to have an active role in our world, and Jesus Christ demonstrated this cornerstone by His acts of service and ministering during His time here. He expects us to do the same, and to lead others by His examples to us. Though we are all called to “make disciples of all nations,” we are not all called to go to the “ends of the Earth” (Acts 1:8). God expects us to witness to others right where we are. While He may call us to another nation to minister in, we are not to overlook the importance of making disciples right where God has currently placed us. That is our mission, the Great Commission.