“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age."
This is a passage with which most of us are very familiar. In fact, I would dare to say that a good number of us have it memorized. However, even though we know it so well, are we actually living it out? Are we actively making disciples?
If I were to make an educated guess, I would venture to say that most of us are not obeying Jesus’ call. Most of us view this passage as a call to missions (which it is). And, for this reason, we think the only way it can be lived out is by moving to a foreign country and making it our full-time endeavor to tell people about Jesus.
So, when we think of this passage, we think of our missionaries in Brazil. We think of our missionaries in Uganda. We think of our missionaries in India, Ecuador, and Mexico. We don’t see how we fit into the picture.
This call, however, is something that’s been given to each one of us. And, while some are called to move overseas, it’s something that can also be fulfilled right where we currently find ourselves. We can make disciples in our own community, while working our regular job.
Fulfilling this command of Christ simply requires us to invest in the lives of unbelievers. It means that we share with them the good news of Jesus. It means that we share with them his Word.
All it takes is for us to befriend an unbeliever. All it takes is for us to show interest in them and to spend a small amount of time with them. We can get together with them for a cup of coffee once a week. We can visit with them while our kids play at the pool. And, as we do so, we can share with them the hope that we have in Jesus.
If they place their faith in the Lord, we can continue to invest in them. We can take the time to teach them, perhaps by going through a Bible study together. We can help them to find answers to their questions. We can pray with them and for them. We can invite them to church and introduce them to the body of Christ.
I realize that we’re all busy. I realize that we have enough to do between our job and our family. We don’t need one more responsibility thrust upon us. However, when I say that we’re to invest in the lives of unbelievers, I’m not saying that we have to minister to a great multitude. We can make a huge difference by working with only one at a time.
As I think back on my life of faith, I can point to several people who took an interest in me. I can point to those who invested in me and discipled me. Through regular interaction with them, I grew in my faith. Perhaps the same is true of you as well. And you can be that person for someone else.
I realize that most of us feel unqualified for such a task. But just as the Spirit of God worked through the disciples, he can work through us as well. He can work through us to build up others in faith. And they, in turn, can do the same for still others.
I challenge each of you to pray that God might bring into your life someone with whom you can share the good news. I challenge you to then invest in that person. In this way, one person at a time, we can carry out the call of Christ. In this way, we can fulfill the Great Commission.