The other day I was listening to a sermon from pastor and author Pete Wilson and he reminded me of something pretty important when it comes to making disciples. I give him full credit for stirring the following thoughts.
Peter Wilson cited Matthew 28. Usually we jump down to verse 18 of this passage, the part where Jesus talks and gives His followers our Great Commission, “Go and make disciples.” I know that we jump down to this part because it is very important and we need to understand and live out this mission but that’s not where Wilson started. Wilson backed up to verses 16 and 17, “
“Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.” Matthew 28: 16-17 NIV
Why the underlined words? Well, first we need to understand that twelve is a big number in the Bible. It has all kinds of significance and importance. Eleven is not such a big important number. Twelve is full and complete. Eleven is lacking and incomplete so the implication here is that the disciples weren’t perfect or ready or complete. But they were sent on this mission to make disciples and they went obediently despite what they lacked.
Same idea with the word doubted. The disciples didn’t have all their questions answered before they went out on mission. They didn’t fully understand everything. They still had stuff to figure out but they were sent so they went.
Here is where this all matters to us. Often I hear people talk about what they lack and it starts to sound like excuse making. “I can’t” or “we can’t” do this thing that Jesus asks us to do because “I/we aren’t ready” or “We don’t have…” And so we sit and wait and miss all the opportunities God has provided us.
Look, I am all for gaining knowledge and putting together a plan especially when it comes to fulfilling our God given mission. But if we are going to wait until we know everything before we go – we won’t ever go. And if we are going to wait until conditions are perfect and all our ducks are in a row – we won’t ever go. Most days I don’t even know where my ducks are let alone getting them into a row. And if we are going to wait until we are ready or the church is ready – well, you get the idea.
We have a mission. The One who gave us this mission fully understands what we lack and yet He still sends us. It is time for all of us (I am talking to myself here too – trust me on that) to stop making excuses. It is time for us to go. And think about it, if we had everything, if we were fully ready, if we could do it all – well then we wouldn’t need God would we? We need Him to fulfill this mission. Maybe that’s why He sends us before we are ready so we will rely on Him instead of on what we have. That’s a way better plan.
Director of Church Health, FMCIC