“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. Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.'” Matthew 28:16-20 (NIV)
Over the past three weeks, we have been exploring the biblical truth that every Christian is a “full-time missionary” and unpacking what I’m calling the Three Myths of Missions which block us from really embracing our roles as disciple-makers. The third and final myth of missions that we will unpack this week is that in order to fulfill the Great Commission, you must “go” away from your current vocation and location.
A few years ago, I heard one of the most life-changing sermons preached on the Great Commission by Dr. Kennon Vaughan. Focusing on the word “Go” in Jesus’s command in Matthew 28:19, Dr. Vaughan said, “The word ‘go’ will “unlock the meaning for us as to when we are to carry out the Great Commission. The word ‘Go’ literally means ‘having gone.’ ‘Go’ is not a command, [Jesus] is not commanding them to go, as much as He’s saying, ‘Having gone…turn men into disciples!’ The going is assumed. In other words, Jesus is saying, ‘Having gone from here, as we go, as you go, turn men into disciples.’ Jesus didn’t go more than 200 miles away from His own hometown, and yet He is saying go make disciples of all nations, and I would venture to say Jesus is the greatest disciple maker in the history of the world. It wasn’t about how far He went. It was about what He did while He was going. The same is true for you and me.”
I don’t know about you, but until a few years ago, I had never heard the Great Commission preached like this. “As you are going…make disciples.” That changes everything.
While God may indeed be calling you to change your vocation or your location, that is certainly not a requirement for fulfilling the Great Commission. The truth is that Jesus has called each and every one of us to be a full-time missionary, making disciples as we go throughout our work and our lives.
When we understand that work is inherently good and meaningful, that the calling of the clergy is no higher than the calling of the congregation, and that Jesus has commanded us to make disciples as we are going throughout life…that changes everything.
Now it doesn’t matter what your job title is—you are commanded to make disciples.
It doesn’t matter if you live in New York or New Delhi—you are commanded to make disciples.
It doesn’t matter if you are an entrepreneur, an artist, pastor, a student, a stay-at-home-mom, an accountant, or a barista—you are commanded to make disciples.
Not at some point in the distant future. Not when you retire from your current vocation. Not just on the next short-term missions trip. Today. You are a full-time missionary. What an awesome privilege. What an incredible responsibility.