This is a common phrase for evangelical Christians. If you are not familiar, it is the Christian mission statement or otherwise known as “the great commission” as this was one of the last things Jesus said to his disciples before ascending back to heaven. We read it in Matthew 28 like this:
18And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.19″Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,20teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
In Acts chapter 1, we see Jesus saying a little more about this, involving the Holy Spirit and telling them to wait until the Spirit is poured out upon them before they go and start ministering to the world:
4 Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me;5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”6 So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority;8 but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”
So why am I bringing this up? Well, now that we are back in Guatemala and settling into our routines, I feel it is necessary to reflect upon our time in the U.S. and explain a little more of what we learned. Every time we visit the U.S. we learn a little more how to “do it well.” For starters, it’s certainly not to relax and vacation, although we do find a few days here and there to enjoy ourselves and rest…especially this past time when we traveled more around the country! But one of the things that we realized we never did “well” is minister to others.
Now, you might be thinking it doesn’t make much sense. Our “mission field” is Guatemala. Well, it’s true that we have been called to live in Guatemala through a specific ministry but too often we limit ourselves in this capacity. When the above passages are read and understood, we tend to create unnecessary boundaries and actually put limits on God’s calling for us. We look comparatively at “Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria,” and take that to mean, “oh, well I’m only called to serve in Jerusalem, but when I go to Samaria for a business trip or Judea to visit family or the ends of the earth for vacation, I’m ‘off duty.'” How we have distorted the call!
It really comes down to laziness. Looking back at previous trips to the US, we were so burned out and tired from everything that we simply didn’t have the capacity to minister to others. But, as we continue to grow in our relationship with God, we realize that when we rest in Him, He gives us exactly what we need and inspires us to do more. This time, we had so many opportunities to minister to others, share God’s love and truth, and just enjoy God’s work wherever we went.
One of the greatest lessons I ever received and try as much as possible to share with others is that salvation isn’t about being saved from something, rather it’s about being saved for something. That something is the purpose to share Him with others. To take it a step further, it isn’t about just telling others that Jesus loves them or that they need salvation (these things are true, but let us once again break outside the box of conventional theology and understand what the bible REALLY says…). It is about loving others who feel unloved, hearing those who don’t get heard, hugging those whom others refuse to go near, sharing the power of God’s presence with those who have never experienced it before…it’s about literally living the way Jesus lived! He didn’t just minister in certain areas, it was His life. It didn’t matter if they were eating dinner, walking down the street, or fishing in a boat. He even ministered to people while dying on the cross!
I’m going to stop myself before I bust out in a 45 minute sermon, but I hope you understand what I mean. Ministry isn’t about being a missionary or pastor. It’s about giving to others the same gift God has given us. If you want to know more about what that looks like or means, please feel free to message us. Our ministry isn’t limited to Guatemala (as so many people say, “well, you are so busy down there.”) We are always busy wherever we go and whatever we are doing. What is most important to us is that YOU understand who you are made to be and how you can live it out.