Wednesday, September 14

Where's the passion for the nations?

I am one of those eternal optimists who believe the fulfilling of the Great Commission can be a reality in our lifetime. Yes, I know we are a long way from seeing this today, but it wouldn't take much to turn things around 180° and get back on track.

After all, everything we need is already in place to get the job done:

--Jesus' promise to be with us,

--the Holy Spirit's empowering,

--the Father's provision of needed resources,

--millions of Christ followers already on the front lines ready for action,

--millions more in "reserve" waiting to be deployed

--the Word to guide and us show the way,

--outposts strategically placed in all the key centers around the world,

--direct access to the Commander-in-Chief 24/7/365,

--apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastor-teachers, servant-leaders willing, eager, and ready to train the saints for the work of service...

And yet with everything in place, why is it that we are further away from accomplishing the goal than ever before?

I believe we have substituted comfortable peace-time religion instead of engaging an all-out war effort to finish the task we were charged with 2000 years ago. It is about us and what we want and like; not Him and where is heart is for bringing in the harvest.

A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, "Son, go work today in the vineyard." And he answered, "I will not"; but afterward he regretted it and went. The man came to the second and said the same thing; and he answered, "I will, sir"; but he did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father? They said, "The first." (Matt.21:28-31)

Which of the two are we like today? The first or the second? Most of us are persuaded we are doing the will of the Father because we are "good Christians" who go to church and read our Bibles. Yet, we have been clearly told to work in our Lord's vineyard. Like the second son, we say, "I will, sir"--but our words are just words. We are not doing anything. It is perfectly OK to lie sing in church, "Send me, O Lord, send me to the nations, for your glory, send me..." but we have zero intention of changing a single thing about the way we live or our current lifestyle--certainly not up doing something as radical as going to the nations for the glory of the Lord!

As Steve Smith writes in T4T: A Discipleship ReRevolution, "The problem throughout history has never been with God--He is willing, passionate for His people to be reached. The problem is not with the harvest--the Spirit is doing His part to prepare a harvest even among hard peoples. The problem is with us--we need to recapture the first-century discipleship revolution that turned the world upside down. We need a discipleship re-revolution!"

I find it amazing so few Christians seem interested in even talking about evangelism, discipleship, church planting, or reaching the billions of lost souls scattered around the nations--not to mention actually engaging in these pursuits. The idea that we are followers of Jesus who fish for men (Mark 1:17) seems to be something missionaries and professional clergy are supposed to do.

The Church in America seems to have a totally different agenda from that of our Lord. She desperately needs to understand that the call to follow Jesus means death to one's self, one's ambitions, one's personal dreams, one's personal well-being. His Kingdom is first. His mandate of making disciples of the nations takes precedence over our own plans, dreams and ambitions. "Not my will but thine be done" was Jesus prayer (and ought to be our prayer!) His interests come first. His heart beat needs to be our heart beat. His glory is what it is all about.

We desperately need to recapture the first-century discipleship revolution!

7 comments:

Darrell Kilcup, DC said...

AMEN!

Ross said...

I couldn't agree with you more! My wife and I are currently in the works for heading to the mission field long-term hopefully with the IMB! We couldn't be more excited to serve the nations!
Your blog has been a window into the life of a missionary, and has been an encouragement! Thanks brother

Aussie John said...

Guy,

You are so right, and describe the situation in this country so well.
When speaking of these matters once, a deacon said, "That's what we pay you for!"

That is as good a reason as any for pastors to be tentmakers.

We pay people to do what we don't want to do.

J. Guy Muse said...

Ross,

That is great news. Welcome aboard! Do you know yet what part of the world you're headed to? Glad the blog has served a tiny part in encouraging you. This encourages me to keep blogging!

J. Guy Muse said...

John,

That is as good a reason as any for pastors to be tentmakers. Sounds like a good topic to explore for a future blog post! Thanks for the idea. I think it has a lot of merit.

Tim Quito said...

I think being united in the effort might help... we seem to be all over the place, each one doing their bit for their idea of the kingdom... instead of some coordinated effort, helping others to reach common goals... we appear to think our goals are Jesus' and everyone else's aren't?? Or at least I am so busy doing my bit I have no time to help the others in theirs.. I don't think Jesus is very happy with this situation.... but I do think it is a crippler to getting the job done!

J. Guy Muse said...

Tim,

I agree that disunity in the Body of Christ is what is keeping us from fulfilling the Great Commission. There are too many agendas and Christ's is given a "back burner." I often wonder what things would look like in the Kingdom if we got back to basics: loving God, loving others, making disciples. Thanks for stopping by.