I talked with a pastor last week who was discouraged and hurting. The reason he was discouraged might surprise you, because worship attendance wasn’t down and the church wasn’t behind in the budget. It wasn’t because of internal fighting or dissatisfaction with his sermons. Instead, this pastor was discouraged because members felt like conducting ministry in near-by apartments was too dangerous for the church. They didn’t want to go to that hard place because it could be un-safe for them.
I remember a similar situation many years ago when I was serving as a student minister. I had planned a mission trip to inner-city Chicago and some were questioning whether or not they should allow the trip to take place because it could be un-safe. We did go, and God blessed.
The Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) is our foundation for going and making disciples everywhere. Everywhere, sometimes include unsafe or hard places. I’m not suggesting that we face all danger with no regard for the safety of ourselves or others. But, like Paul and Barnabas in the book of Acts, we are called to “risk” our lives for the cause of Christ (Acts 15:26). Do we really want to remove our gospel witness from the hard places in the world where it is most needed? Jesus doesn’t call us to safety, He calls us to GO! If we always choose safety over obedience, we’ll never make disciples of all the world.
The Great Commission commands us to go. Here are three reminders found within The Great Commission that will help us as we seek to be true to the calling.
1. The Great Commission reminds us of Jesus’ power over all things. These are the words of the risen Christ, who had overcome death on the cross. He claimed all authority and gave us the authority to represent Him in the world that we live in.
2. The Great Commission reminds us of Jesus’ purpose for our ministries. Our mission is, that we are to make disciples of all the world as we go. This mission is a call to reach all people groups. We are called to share the gospel in our neighborhoods (even the un-safe ones) and in all the nations (even the hard ones).
3. The Great Commission reminds us of Jesus’ promise to be with us always. The promise that Jesus made should be meaningful and encouraging. We live in a dangerous world, but His promise should bring us enormous comfort because He will always be with us.
There are many Christians throughout history who have faithfully served the Lord at tremendous cost to their safety and security. Our calling is to be found faithful with the gospel today, even in the unsafe and hard places. Lord, may we choose obedience to you over our safety and security.