My Great Commission
Before I took notice of the Great Commission verses in Matthew, Mark and Luke another verse spoke to me about helping others. The first time I read the parable of the sheep and goats in Matthew 25, it impacted me and led to my first active part in ministry. It was my first experience making the Great Commission my commission.
In verse 36, Jesus mentions, “I was in prison and you came to visit me.” When I read that part, it was like a voice spoke and said, “I want you to go into prison and visit people.” I had never been to a prison, but knew that some of my relatives had spent time in prison. I wondered how they felt alone, friendless and without family in a cell. Through a series of providences, God opened the door to allow me to visit first one inmate, then later to be part of a prison ministry. I did this for many years and had countless opportunities to help in making disciples—my personal part in the Great Commission. It was one of the most rewarding things I have ever done.
Jesus spoke to the disciples who were following Him and instructed them to go and tell and teach others. This message was not just for great preachers, teachers, evangelists or missionaries; it was given and is given to each one who follows Him. Those first disciples responded, and the gospel went around the world.
How do we make it personal and do our part in our day? For me, it was a result of spending time with Jesus, responding to His call to “come and see,” spending time learning about Jesus and committing to be His disciple. Then I was called to “go and tell” others what I had seen, heard and learned of Jesus. We are first disciples ourselves and then we can help others to be disciples as well. It can happen in the context of family, friends, neighbors and people we work with as well as a particular calling in a specific ministry.
I believe we first have to make the Great Commission our personal commission and take ownership of it. Then we can ask God to show us the “what” and “how.” I know from personal experience He will help us find our part in the Great Commission. Wouldn’t it be amazing if everyone in the Southwestern Union churches made the Great Commission their personal commission asking God to lead and empower them. I think He would be pleased.
By James Shires, President