—Josh Smith, Ruling Elder
Some of the best advice I ever received from a wise friend early in my walk with God was, “stop should-ing on yourself.” This timely word landed on a stressed out, self-absorbed mindset overly focused about what I was or wasn’t doing, and how I was doing at it.
I still need this reminder. I’m pretty awesome at knowing what I am supposed to do because I desire others’ approval. I’m also pretty awesome at not doing whatever that is because I still desire people’s approval. As I’ve reflected on it more I find myself in a terrible trap. If I could only get my attention off myself, life might be more simple and I could stop should-ing myself.
The Great Commision is a gift. It is a command given that forces us to forget about ourselves. God doesn’t need us to accomplish his purposes. Strangely, he desires to include us. He could have chosen to propel His glory in countless other ways—ways that wouldn’t have to include half-hearted, self-absorbed image bearers mixed up in comparing themselves to one another.
Praying through Matthew 28 a few years ago I noticed something I will never be able to unsee and it helps set my heart free from myself. Perhaps you’ve already noticed it. Beautiful, meaningful facets of His character book-end this command.
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
This huge task of making disciples of all the nations is not possible by human effort. So as he hands us the keys to build his Kingdom, he gives us Himself. When we obey, we experience Him. As we trust what he says, we get more of Him. This is truly awesome.
The Great Commission is a gift because it keeps God right where he should be. At the center of our obedience. Not before or after. Center. His omnipotent authority to save anyone is displayed through Spirit-filled, humble submission. The incalculable task accompanied with unimaginable resources necessary to teach obedience to God’s Word in every culture become available by the joy of His intimate presence. When we hear stories of a heart responding to the name of Jesus we realize all authority is His. As we move towards others he proves Himself closer than we ever realized.
Perhaps we want more of Him. Let’s embrace this command and experience more of his character together.