Matthew 28:18-20 (NKJV) 18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 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, 20 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.” Amen.
Once again the Lord has my wife and on out of the United States bringing the Word of God to those in other parts of the world. It is an exciting opportunity to impact the church. Over the next 8 1/2 weeks we will be in 10 cities in southern and western Kenya as well as an airplane trip to a city called Lodwar in the north of the country. We will be in minister’s seminars in most places as well as conducting marriage seminars in 4 of them. In the city of Narok we will participate in a women’s conference. My wife, Pastor Elaine, is the headliner there, but last time they let me speak as well.
We believe that this is the time in our lives to take the great commission on a global scale seriously. We have traveled for many years but we are in the process of handing over the local responsibilities for our church to our son and daughter-in-law as well as a wonderful team of elders and leaders God has raised up. This frees us to step up our involvement in other parts of the world as well as around the United States. It is an exciting time. Please keep us in your prayers.
The word “commission” has a military connotation. Military officers are said to be commissioned whereas the enlisted men and women are not. One definition of commission is an instruction, command, or duty given to a person or group of people. It can also mean to be authorized to do a job or build something. In the military sense the officer is given a commission for a job or assignment and the enlisted personnel under him or her are to help them fulfill the commission. Even under the senior officer may be other “commissioned” officers who are there to help the higher ranking officer do the job.
The main idea behind being commissioned is that the one commissioned has been given an assignment and he is duty bound to carry out that assignment to the best of his ability. That is what Jesus gave us when he told us to go into the world and preach the gospel. One major difference is that there are no enlisted in God’s army. We are all given the same commission. We all carry the responsibility to fulfill our duty and build the church for which Jesus died.
There are ranks in the Kingdom. Although we are all commissioned there is divine order that helps us function together so we may accomplish the goal. However, each one of us carries the duty aspect of the commission. Just as an officer has no choice but to do his duty, a Christian has a duty to win the lost and make disciples. An officer’s life is given to his duty. A Christian must be willing to lay down his life for his duty. All other things in an officer’s life are secondary to his duty. He or she has been commissioned. The same is true of us.
Good commanders know that the commissioned officer must be given times of recreation away from his duty. They recognize that family is important and do whatever is possible to make sure that the officer can also be a husband or wife and mother or father. However, there are times when even family must take a back seat to the duty. Because the officer has accepted the commission, it is not his choice as to when other important things of life must take a back seat to the commission. That is up to his commander.
Jesus is a good commander. He takes care of his officers. He makes sure there is room for marriage, family and all the necessities of life. Nevertheless, it is not up to us to determine how that will work. We were saved and we are now called to accept the commission. It is up to us to make obedience to our commander the highest priority of life and trust him to be sure we have time for other things. Part of obedience is to make sure we are sensitive to listen to him when he says to give time to other things. When the order comes to get back to work we must be ready.
An officer in the military does not do what they do for money. Although higher ranks are compensated according to their authority, any good officer could always make more money in the private sector than he can in the military. A good military will do everything possible to provide for the needs of its officers. Food, clothing and medical care will be available. It may not always be according to the preference of the officer. His needs will be met and if it is possible the saying “rank hath its privilege” will be applied to him. That is not the point of his life or service. He or she has been given a commission. That is the point.
I am a Christian. I was washed in the blood of the Lamb and my eternal life was purchased with a price. When I accepted salvation, I accepted the commission that comes with it. I have been doing so for more than 38 years. I have found my commander to be as wonderful a Lord as he is a savior. He has taken care of me, blessed me and allowed me to have a wonderful wife and family. He has helped me care for them and made me a better husband and father than I could have ever been without him. He has provided health and healing. He has always provided for my needs and most often the desires of my heart. That said, I am commissioned.
I do not do what I do for money, although God takes care of me and provides for the work abundantly. I do what I do because it is my duty. I do not do what I do for fulfillment though I know that I could never be as fulfilled as I am in doing what God commissioned me to do. Nevertheless, I do it because I am commissioned. It is my duty to fulfill that commission. That is my highest priority outside of relationship to God and the partner with whom he made me one, my wife.
I was talking with my son-in-law after one of the trips describing some of the conditions we deal with and he was amazed. He knew we were moving towards doing this on a more fulltime basis. He asked me with a great degree of question in his voice, “You want to do this?”
I thought about it for a minute. I do enjoy much of this assignment. I enjoy teaching and ministering to hungry people. I enjoy making relationships with people who are so totally different from me and yet so much the same because of our relationship to Jesus. I do like seeing new things and new places but there are many things I do not like.
I enjoy comfort as much as the next person and at times our duty requires that we sacrifice comfort. Right now what we do costs and rarely pays even enough to cover the costs. We have to believe God for every trip. I do not like being away from my children and grandchildren. I miss the wonderful presence of God in our church. My answer was, “It does not matter what I want. What matters is my assignment.”
I believe that attitude is necessary in the body of Christ. Some years ago I was studying the book of Acts looking for what made that church so powerful. Although there are many things we could say, what I found most significant was that the people were committed to the commission above all else. It cost some their lives and some their livelihood. It consumed there focus and everything else in life took a back seat. I know that life requires balance. However, I think to come to balance we need to move closer to their kind of commitment not farther away.
It is not up to me to judge you or anyone else. Each of us must examine ourselves and determine if we are fulfilling our duty as commissioned offices in the service of Jesus Christ. My role may not be the same as yours but we share the same duty. It was stated in today’s scripture. Give it another look and receive your commission today.