In God’s power and goodness he created man, despite our rebellion he offered rescue to mankind through Christ, but the goal of saving the lost involves you and me…
A Divine Commission– as the culmination of what has come before (Matthew 28:18-20) 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 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, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
When someone is on their death bed or going away for the last time—their final words takes on greater significance. It is Jesus last words; his greatest significance takes his life’s goal of seeking and saving the lost and turns it into a co-mission. He includes us in changing the world. True discipleship breeds duplication. Pastor Griffen put it this way: “We’ve been commissioned to proclaim God’s good news to people in bad situations and change the world. We’ve been sent to shout freedom to people imprisoned by life and the order of things. We’ve been sent by God to declare new vision to people blinded by the weight of their past and present realities. We’ve been sent by God to call people who’ve been oppressed by greed, pride, power, violence and hate and declare their freedom. We’ve been commissioned by God to change the world.”We are sent with the Good News all over the world, and yet sometimes it feels like in our corner of the world, we don’t have anything to offer. The thought runs through your mind that someone should do something, but you feel depleted, unplugged or unprepared. Maybe the thought that is playing over and over again in your head is simple: I have nothing to offer. Let me take you back to 2001. Warlords started to take off Western Uganda, forcing over 80,000 survivors into destitution and subsistence living in refugee camps. With life defined by depravity and shortage many looked at the raging war and lost hope. They perceived their only escape was intervention from a Western nation. A pastor in Buge-buge decided to look at this as an opportunity to teach God’s people about stewardship. Bishop Hannington led his church to meet real needs with God’s real provision. With food and water shortages, disease raging, the church started looking at what they had rather than what they didn’t. Rising to the challenge, they started with a blanket drive allowing orphans to feel the love of Christ. What difference can one chicken possibly make: (Our Great Exchange Movie Clip- 7:05—8:40).
Where can we rise to the challenges around us? What does your one chicken look like, where can you contribute one brick to building the church and building the community? Generosity regardless of the geography is transformation. God has given us everything we need to raise up the community—maybe not Walnut Grove Christian Church alone, but the church, your gifts, our resources, your experiences, your time, treasures, and talents. We can decide to live in God’s reality rather than the world’s reality. One always alters the other.
Challenge: I want to leave you with a challenge as we move forward into the next year. I realize that with everyone’s situation and context being different—giving is incredibly personal, but it is also incredibly powerful as well. What you do with your time, talents, and treasures speak to a greater truth than just getting by. One person cannot do everything, but what if every person did something? Where we gave in recognition of God’s authority, where we acknowledged God’s moving, and we embraced the fullness of God’s commission on us! Envision with me the results: Where each time you gave of your time–volunteering, your talents–creating, your treasures–giving that you weren’t losing something, but were gaining a greater acknowledgment of God’s authority, rejoicing at a greater awareness of his concerted moving, and embracing the new identity of a divine commission. A place where the 80-20 principle gets flipped on its head, a place where your children and grandchildren can belong, a place where we embrace more people only as we build up new people into the image of Christ, where discipleship isn’t an extra part of what we do but everything that we do!
We get to embrace our GREAT EXCHANGE–1 John 2:6– Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did—You’ve been Commissioned! Keep in mind, when a soldier is commissioned, it comes at a cost.