Encouragement for Today
Glynnis Whitwer, Senior Editor – “P31 Woman Magazine,” Proverbs 31 Speaker Team Member
Matthew 28:18-20, “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." (NIV)
It was my sons’ second time surfing. I wasn’t sure if I was comfortable with them going without an instructor, but the water was calm and the surfing area was relatively confined between two areas of land. The owner of the surfboard rental store assured us it was a great place for beginners, but added the boys should stay in the center of the two landmarks, and in the middle of all the other surfers. Those seemed like simple enough guidelines, so off they went.
My husband and oldest son were snorkeling, so as Robbie and his next oldest brother, Dylan, paddled to join the other surfers, I settled in on the beach to watch.
The first 10 minutes were fine. Because of the calm water, the surfing consisted mainly of sitting. A few ripples caused a flurry of paddling, but my boys were never able to stand. Pretty soon I noticed Robbie drifting to the left of center, away from his brother. He was still within the safe parameters, but my mom-antenna was immediately raised.
As Robbie drifted farther away from the safety of the center, my heart started to pound. All the ocean horror stories ran through my mind: rip currents and sharks being on the top of the list. Robbie had soon floated to the outskirts of the mass of surfers and I started to panic.
Getting to Robbie consumed me. I tried shouting, but he was too far away to hear. I was ready to dive in when I saw a young man ready to paddle out. I ran across the sand, enlisted his help, described my son, and asked him to corral Robbie back to the center, near his brother. Within minutes, Robbie was back in the safe zone and I relaxed.
As I reflect on this incident, I realize that I had shifted into mission-mode, completely focused on getting to Robbie. My mission was clear and I would have done anything in my power to save him.
As Christians, we have a similar mission, which we should pursue with the same clarity of purpose that overtook me as I watched my son drift further away from safety: We’ve been called by Jesus to reach a drifting world with the good news of Jesus.
In what is called the Great Commission, Jesus gave His disciples final marching orders. It’s found in Matthew 28:18-20: “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.’”
This is our mission as long as we are on this earth. I find it’s helpful to apply this mission first to those in my own home, and then spread out from there. It also helps me when I see those who are far from God as truly lost and hurting. When I looked at Robbie drifting farther away from the shore, the danger was obvious. Sometimes I forget the danger of a heart drifting farther from God, and the urgency to fulfill the Great Commission diminishes.
As we begin a new year, it’s a great time to remember our mission and evaluate our progress. The importance of fulfilling this mission is as critical as it was for me to get to Robbie. Robbie’s life depended on me completing my mission, and the lives of untold numbers depend on us as well.
My Prayer for Today:
Heavenly Father, I praise You for reaching out to me when I was drifting away from You. Thank You for drawing me back to the safety of Your love. Help me to feel the urgency to reach others who are far from You. Open my eyes to see the reality of the danger they face. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Do a self-evaluation of your progress in fulfilling the Great Commission. Identify five ways you can fulfill a part of the Great Commission this year.
Re-read Matthew 28:18-20. Make a list of the specific commands of Jesus.
When Jesus said, “teaching them to obey all I have commanded you,” what are some of the things He taught His disciples?
As you read the Great Commission, which part is most important to you today?
Why is it easy to lose the urgency to reach out to others with the love of Jesus?
What are some of the reasons we find it difficult to fulfill the Great Commission?
2 Peter 1:10, “Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (NIV)
Luke 10:22, "All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him." (NIV)
Proverbs 25:4, “Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you.” (NIV)
Luke 15: 3-5, “Then Jesus told them this parable: ‘Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders.’” (NIV)
Luke 19:10, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost." (NIV)
Radically Obedient, Radically Blessed by Lysa TerKeurst
Becoming a Woman Who Listens to God by Sharon Jaynes
P31 Woman Magazine