Looking Locally

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In Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus said, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Please note that Jesus does not say, “First, get a Bible degree and then go.” He doesn’t say, “If you don’t want to go, give a few dollars on Sunday.” He never said, “If you don’t feel ready, take your time.” Jesus did not limit the commission to “those who feel called to mission work.” He doesn’t even say “Go once and then you can be done”. Jesus simply says “Go.” In the Greek, “go” is poreuomai (πορεύομαι). W.E. Vines states that this verb means, “to go on one’s way” and that this word is “more distinctly used to indicate procedure or course”.

            So, what is our course? I would propose that this verse does not eliminate the need for believers to travel to other countries, to travel to distant lands, to spread the gospel to all the earth. No, that is absolutely part of it. But the whole church in one city shouldn’t pick up and go. Someone has to stay back. This is where understanding the word “Go” comes into view. For some, the mission field is in China, or Iraq, or Zambia, or Guatemala, or… That list can go on. But for others—perhaps most in attendance today, our mission field is our own street. Our mission field could be our row of cubicles at the office, or the group of people on our work crew, or the people in our gym class.

What would happen if we reached out and tried to establish relationships with our neighbors and the people across the street with the same intentionality a missionary might reach out to those in his or her mission field? What if we started holding a Bible Study in our living rooms one day a week and invited everyone on our street to attend—even if no one ever came? What would happen if missions wasn’t something we gave money to—but rather a way of life? How would that change you?

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