18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 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, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” – Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV)
Should you choose to accept it, you have a mission. It’s not an ordinary, everyday kind of mission. In fact, this is a mission with the power to transform the world.
It must have been an absolutely mind-blowing assignment for the 11 remaining disciples that met Jesus that day at the mountain. They spent three years travelling with Jesus, listening to his sermons and seeing him perform miracles. Then, Jesus goes to a cross, betrayed by one of his closest followers. The disciples scatter on Good Friday but get the incredible news on Easter Sunday that Jesus is alive. Everything seems to be back on track because Jesus is back. Now, Jesus pulls them together to tell them that he’s no longer going to be with them.
At that moment, it would seem improbable that Jesus would give them the biggest mission yet. This is the time when they should be falling apart, when they should be worried about what happens next and when they should be mourning the loss of Jesus. Yet, it is precisely at this moment that Jesus gives them a world-changing mission.
They are to go to “all nations” and they are to baptize and teach. It is the same mission that is offered to us today.
We can sum up this mission from God in this way: “Love God. Love people. Do stuff.”
Love God. Realizing that we are loved by God can change our life. However, this is about more than simply acknowledging it. We are to remain in love with God. It’s a key to being a part of Jesus’ mission in the world. We can’t tell the world about God’s love if we’ve never really experienced it ourselves. A key question for us as we consider whether we are in love with God: How has my life changed because I am in love with God? We can’t encounter the love of God and not experience change in our life.
Love people. Jesus never cared for our labels. He loves everyone he comes in contact with. He spent time with fishermen, tax collectors and lawyers. He loved the poor, the rich, the hungry, the outcasts and the marginalized. If we are going to accept the mission that Jesus lays out for us in the Great Commission, then we have to love the people Jesus loves.
A key question for us in this part of the mission: How much diversity will we find in the relationships we have in our life? To love the people Jesus loves, we have to love those who vote for the other presidential candidate, who pull for the other team, who come from a completely different background and who might not agree with us on many issues at all. Loving people the way that Jesus loves pushes us out of our comfort zone.
Do stuff. When we are in love with God and we are loving the people Jesus loves, then we are compelled to do something about it. Love is something that is worked out with extended hands and hearts that are exposed in ways that they could even be hurt.
For the world to see the Jesus in us, we must be close enough for it to be visible. We don’t transform the world from a distance. Instead, we share in acts of love and kindness in the name of Christ and it’s something we can do constantly in our own lives.
We have a mission, a mission give to us by Jesus to transform the world, and it begins when we Love God, Love People and Do Stuff.
Dean Lollis is the pastor of Wightman United Methodist Church in Prosperity. He can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.