Go! and make disciples.
Go! and baptise them.
Go! and teach them to obey.
If you're anything like me, when you read The Great Commission in Matthew chapter 28, verses 18-20, all you hear is Jesus saying "Go!" If that's the word your ears are attuned you, you most likely love the idea, and would happily jump straight on the next flight to the wildest destination imaginable.
Lately, God's message in my life has been a resounding "Stop!"
The command to Go! is one that has shaped the path of my life. It's taken on the form of overseas, long term missionary service. Packing up my life here in Australia, farewelling my family, and moving overseas to make another place, and another people, my home.
Perhaps for you, the command to Go! is to open your front door and invite your neighbours in for a meal. Or it's meeting other parents at the playground while your children run around. Local or international, I think the idea of stopping is just as relevant for Christians as is the command to Go!
Are you ready and willing to obey?
I'm reminded of sitting in the exit row of an airplane. The cabin crew explain your role in the case of an emergency, and then ask "Are you willing and able to assist?" As I read The Great Commission, and hear the command to Go!, it's as if the question begs to be asked, "Are you ready and willing to obey?"
I can confidently say "Yes! I am willing", but I'm less convinced than ever that I am ready.
The idea of disciple making is exciting. The idea of introducing people to Jesus is exciting. The idea of sharing Jesus through conversations, cups of tea, and our day to day lives is exciting.
So aside from the willingness to participate in all of this excitement, what is it that makes us ready to do so?
Finding a pattern of rest
As I said, God has been teaching me that in order to Go! I need to first learn to Stop!
Earlier in Matthew chapter 11, verse 28, Jesus said, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."
We need to recognise that we cannot Go! in our own strength. We need to turn to Jesus for rest and for the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual energy to serve Him.
We need to learn how to actively rest in Jesus, and I say actively because I don't mean lounging in front of the television. Here's a few ways I think we can actively rest, and regularly recharge.
- Make space and time to be silent and open your heart before God to listen to Him. 20 minutes a day where you put your phone on silent and out of reach, close your laptop, grab a cup of tea, sit and listen.
- Choose to live connected to other Christians. Open your life up to them, share your burdens, and choose to allow yourself to be loved by them.
- Learn to truly experience life, to live in each moment. To experience and feel what is happening in your life. And to sit and to open yourself up to feel what others are experiencing.
- Nurture yourself. Take care of your body, mind, spirit and soul. Spend time in the outdoors. Read the Word. Stop and smell the roses. Find what it is that re-energises you and enjoy it.
Once you've stopped, once you're rested, and once you've come to a place where you're allowing Jesus to work in and through you, Go! And enjoy the fullness and vitality of going in God's strength and not your own.
Chloe is an Australian writer. She loves weekend breakfasts with friends, and embraces life as an extrovert, a detail-oriented thinker, and a verbal processor.
Chloe's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/chloe-alexander.html