Growing up in church you are likely to regularly hear the words of Jesus as he gave the Great Commission to go into all the world and spread the Good News (Matthew 28:18-20).
And if you are like me, you often deflect the command for “that other person.” I justify it by saying, “Jesus was just talking to the apostles,” or “My preacher is who is meant to go and tell everyone the gospel message, not me.”
No, the Great Commision was not for me. I could barely articulate the gospel in a coherent manner and public speaking – no way. So how did I end up in New York City preparing to go overseas as a missionary for my foreseeable future?
My missionary journey started where I believe most missionary journeys start – in a pew on a Sunday morning. The preacher was speaking a message that I do not remember. But, as I sat there I had a vision — a picture so clear I remember it vividly still today.
The perilous cliff no one could see
Before me was a wide dirt path with hundreds and thousands of people walking along it. They were laughing and talking with people around them. They looked happy. But to my left was a massive cliff that dropped to a rocky seabed. These happy people kept walking straight off the cliff, not even remotely aware of what peril they were in. I looked closer and saw that their eyes were covered by sleep masks. No one could see where they were going.
I looked to my right and there stood a man on the thin patch of grass I sat on. He was calling out to the people who walked by, and some of them removed their masks and stepped off the dirt path onto the grass. They were saved from their terrible fate. But here I was, just sitting on the grass. I was watching thousands of people plunge to their death and I did not even raise my voice to warn them of their fate or that there was a way to escape it.
This vision rocked me to my core. How could I sit and live my life knowing the only way to escape eternal death and not tell anyone?
Who is the Great Commission for?
I began to realize that the Great Commission was not just for those on the other side of the world. It was for those right next door to us too! That Sunday morning, God planted in me a seed of passion to see people know Jesus and his life-giving death-defying power, a seed that would grow into much more than a heart for my neighbors.
It is about the small steps
Did I know that I had stepped onto a road that would one day lead me to the other side of the globe? Absolutely not. But as I began to tell those around me about what Jesus had done for me, God continued to direct my steps and he continues to do so today.
The Great Commision is not just for the few – it is for all who follow Jesus. The Great Commission is not just for another day “when I have time” — it is for today. It is not just some words on a page – it is the hope for all the world.