A Missions Message
Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
Matt. 10:16a “Behold, I send you forth. . .”
The Twelve didn’t know it yet, but this proclamation would soon become a manifesto governing the remainder of their lives. They had jobs, interests, and hobbies, but henceforth every other concern had to fall subservient to, “I send you forth.”
These four words serve as the marching orders for all believers, the defining edict of our lives. We are not afforded the luxury of influencing only those people who happen to come our way. The Acts 1:8 directive begins with “Jerusalem,” with where we happen to be at any given moment, but does not end there.
At some point we have to quit sitting, hearing, and only moving in our daily routines. “I send you forth” means we must leave our ruts to go find lost sheep.
Believers have no right to sit idly by with arms folded in indifference to the world’s woes. Don Hammer, former professor at Midwestern Baptist Seminary, on a mission trip to a war-torn Asian country where Christians face the danger of persecution, called home, saying, “It’s a 911 world out here and no one is answering the phone!” Jesus’ directive, “I send you forth,” is His way of saying we need to be answering the phone. Christ-followers are supposed to be front-line emergency response units for humanity’s hurts and lostness. We need to pray, give, and go. As Bible believers, is there any possible way we can objectively and honestly read Scripture and make any decision other than to gladly commit to do all three?
In “I send you forth” I am living the adventure of a lifetime. For me it has become the heroic crusade, a noble, epic saga. I’m grateful God gave me a cause worth giving my life for, and that He let me live on earth long enough to find it.
At a superficial level, people think they want ease and comfort. Much discontent in our lives is due to this shallow way of considering life. From our deepest, innermost essence a more meaningful voice cries out to be heard. Ultimately, only a summons to heroism in ministry and mission can satisfy a Christian’s heart.
A valiant desire to accomplish the heroic resides somewhere inside every believer, especially when it comes to Christ’s worldwide missions enterprise. God the Holy Spirit lives in each believer, ever calling us to undertake the gallant challenge of going forth. He may be forced to appeal from a depth of being where we have buried Him too deep to be heard, but He is calling nonetheless.
Many believers live at the shallow level of existence. They wonder why life is boring or meaningless, yet all the while give themselves to superficial pursuits.
Believers, heed the Holy Spirit in our own breast, hear the heroic call, “I send you forth,” four words that can lift us out of a humdrum, mediocre existence.
By listening to God’s heroic call rising from deep within, we learn what it means to really live. Life unfolds many paradoxes, one being, the life you’ve always dreamed of lies hidden in the mission you’ve always dreaded.