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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
This is a passage known as The Great Commission. It captures some of the last words Jesus shared with his disciples.
I’m not a theologian, but I interpret part of this to mean we are supposed to share Christ and His love at home and abroad.
When people hear that my family is involved in short-term missions in Guatemala, they sometimes ask why we need to go so far away to serve others. They point to the incredible need in the United States, and they don’t understand why in the world anyone needs to travel so far away and “waste” so much money to serve people elsewhere. Some also point to the perceived inefficiency and ineffectiveness of overseas short-term missions. (I’ll try to address that in a future post.)
I can’t be everywhere at the same time, and I definitely won’t have an opportunity to serve and make disciples in all nations; however, I can do for one or for a few what I want to do for everyone. And if every Christian develops this mindset, we can actually reach all nations. Our family makes a point of serving in our local community (this is one of the reasons we started H.O.P.E.), but we also try to intentionally invest outside of our local community and around the world.
If you and your family are looking for ways to make the Great Commission a greater reality in your lives, you might want to consider these ideas:
Does the Great Commission involve more than short-term missions? Yes. The Great Commission talks about baptizing and teaching. These are other important areas for you to discuss and discover. Many people do not feel equipped to teach and baptize, and they use that feeling as an excuse not to serve others and to get involved. The Great Commission was meant for the disciples and for you if you call yourself a Christ-follower. If stepping into short-term missions scares you, remember the last sentence. Christ is with you!
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