May each of you have the heart to conceive, the understanding to direct, and the hand to execute works that will leave the world a little better for your having been here. -- Ronald Reagan

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Struggles With the Great Commision

Francis of Assisi
Since reading the book Radical by David Platt, I’ve been having a theological struggle regarding what I can do to bring awareness of Christ to people around the world, and my own witness to Christ, which is very local. There’s the question of what the end game is for people that don’t know Christ; haven’t heard of him or have and denied him. My thinking up until reading Radical was if someone denied Christ, that denial will last for eternity, and not getting nearer to God, being denied God, is Hell. If one had not heard of Christ, then I was of those that thought God would bring them into the Heavenly Kingdom. It’s not their fault. Platt posits the idea it’s Christian’s fault if anyone, because we don’t live up to the Great Commission.

“Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them. When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted.
And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always,
even to the end of the age’.”

Platt complicated the issue for me. What if those that have not heard of Christ are condemned to Hell, and are separated from God for eternity? Hardly seems fair. Platt says it’s time to get radical, to take a look around and see how much stuff you have that you can dispense with to get the message out. Can we give more of our time and talents? His message has struck a chord. People are selling their possessions and becoming missionaries, as the Great Commission commands us.

I live a monkish lifestyle; small apartment, sensible and aging car and really no frills. I start the day with the Lord’s Prayer, and say the Jesus Prayer throughout the day. Church, Bible study, read theology, and know that I have an interior communion with God that is constant and true. To keep financially afloat I have a job that commands a lot of mental energy and stress management.  I’m not in a position, nor do I really have the desire to give what up what little I do have. The emotional and financial stress that would cause would be overwhelming, and ultimately destructive. I would be useless.

I witness by my actions God’s grace, and share the story of my redemption. God has not instructed me to do anything other that what I’m doing; I’m in this time and space and know that my reason for being here is for His Glory. What I can do is help create awareness of the thought people that have not heard of Christ will be separated from God for eternity. As I’m writing this, I thinking something I can do is use a Christian ministry to help a third world child get fed and educated.

Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) says in his book Jesus of Nazareth, while discussing Francis of Assisi, “Francis did accept the distinction between radical commitment and the necessity of living in the world.  …is to accept with humility the task of one’s secular profession and its requirements, wherever one happens to be, while directing one’s whole life to that deep interior communion with Christ that Francis showed us.”

I know I’m reborn in Christ, and completely open to Him. The Kingdom of God is real to me. How I’m carrying out the Great Commission is His will; I just had to evaluate where I am with Him, and it’s a good place; I’m where I’m supposed to be. I just needed to be aware of a couple additional things, and we do need to reevaluate where we are probably more frequently than we do. I’m often amazed how God works. A suggestion from a friend about a book, created a lot of thought and prayer, rocked my boat, now Jesus has calmed that stormy sea. .

1 comment:

S. R. Piccoli said...

Linked and commented at WRH. Have a good day, Steven!