They say that if you’re blogging in order for people to read, then you’re probably doing it for the wrong reasons. So if you happen to stumble upon this, apologies. Today, I’m writing a letter to myself…
‘Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said,“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.”’ Matthew 28: 16-20
Come on mate. You’ve read that so many times, you’ve forgotten it, haven’t you? Jesus’ big challenge to the church, where he sets out the absolutely vital job he’s left us to do. You’ve become too familiar with it. You don’t hear it properly any more.
A lot of the Bible is confusing and complicated. This isn’t. The meaning is crystal clear:
1. All that follows is asked because Jesus has been given ALL the authority in the universe. So it’s pretty important.
2. We’re supposed to go and help other people to hear and understand the gospel, and then to disciple them – to teach them to be more like Jesus through the way we live.
3. We should see them through to baptism. Not help them gently along the road. To baptism. That scary thing where you look like a nutter in public.
4. We teach them to obey Jesus. To adopt his principles – to love unconditionally and to pick up the baton from us in sharing the gospel with yet more people.
5. Oh, and he’s with us – Father, Son and Spirit – so we’re not on our own when we attempt these tasks.
Now Martin, let’s be honest for a moment. How many of these five things have you taken seriously in 2012? Not intellectually speaking, but in practice. Let me narrow it down for you: how many people have you shared your faith with; are you in intentional discipleship relationships with? (Don’t cheat and hide behind your youth group; their parents make them go.)
Let’s look at that list again, and see how you’ve measured up…
1. You agree this is important. Good, then we’re on the same page.
2. Well, you made some friends who aren’t yet Christians. Well done. You also lived your life in a way which generally suggested you might be a nice person. You also spent a lot of time on social media, starting silly hashtag games and reading lots of heated debates about secondary issues of faith. You probably also eulogised about the opportunities that this same media offers for evangelism, without actually doing any.
3. You went to a baptism. You preached at one. You told the congregation how wonderful it was. You had played no part in the faith journeys of any of the candidates. But hey – you basked in the reflected glory!
4. Yeah, this isn’t looking good.
5. Did you forget about this part? Is that why you frequently bottled out of those moments where you could have shared your faith; when you could have offered hope to someone who was going through a hard time? I’m going to be kind – I think you had selective amnesia.
Read that passage again. Christmas is the perfect time to put some of these words into action – to invite neighbours to church, to start conversations about what this time of year is all about. Because the thing is, the great commission suggests that everything else is secondary – that this is what living life as a Christian is all about. Sure – love others until it hurts, but sometimes do that exactly like this. If you really love people, you’ll want to tell them the Good News.
Oh, and lose some weight. You’re looking podgy.
Lots of love,