Participating in the Great Commission
Jesus came to save the lost. That was Christ’s primary mission, and He charged us to do the same. Matthew 28:18-20 says, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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.”
The Great Commission is for every believer, not just pastors, evangelists and missionaries. Jesus lovingly instructed us to be involved in the mission He came to fulfill. We each have a God-given role in helping to accomplish the Great Commission. We are to help reach a world that desperately needs to hear about His hope and salvation. The challenge is that not all of us feel equipped to participate. The command may feel daunting. We may be wondering how we can reach others and do what Jesus has asked.
The apostle Paul did not always seem fit for spreading the gospel. Yet once he learned that God had chosen him specifically, his perspective changed, and he accepted God’s calling. Paul could persuade and motivate Romans, Greeks and Jews alike. His logic was sound, his emotional appeal powerful. However, his ability to find common ground with people and bring them to Christ was what made him most effective.
We could learn a lot from Paul. Making disciples involves preaching and ministering to a world far beyond our church walls, interacting with people from all walks of life. The key to Paul’s success in reaching people was that he went beyond superficial contact.
In Acts 27, Paul comforts and encourages his shipwrecked companions first: “Now I urge you to take some food. You need it to survive. Not one of you will lose a single hair from his head.” Acts 27:34. Then, “after he said this, he took some bread and gave thanks to God in front of them all. Then he broke it and began to eat. They were all encouraged and ate some food themselves.” Acts 27:35-36. Paul acknowledged their current state before even mentioning God.
We can imitate this approach and connect with others; but before we begin to share the good news, we should consider exploring the needs and concerns of people first. We need to respectfully consider the customs and cultural differences of the people we wish to reach. Paul is showing us that we can bridge the gaps that divide us by letting God’s greatest command, to love one another, be at the core of our actions, allowing Jesus to shine through our attentiveness and flexibility.
As we move forward in 2022, I pray that God will help us embrace this concept and give us opportunities to reach people the way Paul did.
By Lee-Roy Chacon, President