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 28:19-20
As the rest of the world goes crazy over Game of Thrones, I'm going back to the mysterious island with my beloved friends from Lost. For those who aren't familiar with the greatest television series ever made (don't @ me), it follows the survivors of a plane crash that land on a mysterious island somewhere in the South Pacific Ocean. The complex and cryptic storylines spawned numerous questions, theories, and discussions among their fans. People would watch and re-watch episodes, go on fan forums, and talk around the water cooler to figure out what was transpiring on the island.
I devoted countless hours to this show; more than I care to admit, and now years later I'm binge watching it again. Even though I know how everything ends, I find myself picking up on clues that I didn't notice the first few go arounds. They were there the whole time; I somehow just missed them. Hiding in plain sight, they alluded my attention.
Isn't that how life and faith work too? Sometimes we get so comfortable and familiar with things that we miss what's really going on. The deeper meaning gets lost. The insight falls on deaf ears. We quit being a learner. We fool ourselves into believing we have a stronger grasp on a subject than we actually do.
The only way to fix this issue is to step back and see things with fresh eyes. Take, for instance, today's passage, most commonly referred to as The Great Commission. Jesus charges His followers, and us as well, to bring His message of forgiveness and love to the ends of the earth. If you've spent any time in the church world, you've heard it recited, preached and placed on top of a stock photo on Instagram.
Yes, it's a rallying cry to go and make disciples. This is important. That goes without saying. But, there's a more profound truth hiding in plain sight - one that influences our approach, demeanor and focus to our call. Take a moment and reread today's passage. Did you catch it?
"And surely I am WITH YOU ALWAYS, to the very end of the age."
He's with us....always. In every situation. In every circumstance. In the good times as well as the bad. He's by our side cheering us on when life goes our way and there to comfort us when the unpredictability of life throws us a curveball.
This truth also impacts the way we tackle The Great Commission. The pressure of making a difference in this world can be overwhelming - there are so many issues and problems we don't know how or where to begin. Our pride can also get the better of us which leads us to think we're on a one-person mission to transform everything around us. We rely solely on our effort, ability, and strength to help "fix" people.
The job of Savior of the world has already been filled. We need not apply. Jesus doesn't need us to save the world; He did that through the cross and by defeating death. Instead, He invites us to come along for the ride of making disciples, bringing hope, and being an agent of change.
Whether we're wrestling with pride or insecurity, the message remains the same. He is WITH US always. We're just called to humbly trust and obey. Don't let this truth get lost in the shuffle.
Where do you need to be reminded that God is with you always? Why did this situation come to mind?
God, wherever my feet touch, You are there. You go with me so I need not be afraid or worried. You are my hope and source of provision and stability. May I remember You never leave my side and that You want to use me to bring You glory. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.