I hate driving in downtown Little Rock… and Kansas City… and Lincoln Nebraska… and the roundabouts in Conway. These places have one thing in common. The only way you will know where to go in those messed up places is to be from there, have driven there multiple times… or be a psychic… and even then, they will add new “improvements” just to appear to be progressive. My New Year’s vacation was “highlighted” by navigating the streets of Little Rock, only to look like my 10 year old if he were trying to drive without the benefit of a phone book to sit on to see over the steering wheel. I made three attempts to turn left before finding an actual street where a left turn was legal. The day got even better when I attempted to find my way back to the interstate after dinner, only to go the wrong way… 4 times, while trying to convince my loved ones I was taking the scenic route… until I decided to take the scenic route past Furniture Row, the Mall, and a Starbucks to where a roundabout didn’t exist.
Each year most of us make promises to be better, do better, exercise better, think better, speak better, and eat better. Unfortunately, many of us also return to the way we were anywhere from January 2nd to the 30th…if we were really committed and made multiple attempts after multiple failures. Our problem with success in “turning over a new leaf” is that we are trying to make new leaves out of the old ones. A wise sage once coined the phrase “wherever you go, there you are”. Unless you know where you are at, and know how you got there, making progress will be fruitless, if not misguided and confusing.
Knowing who you are is a vital part of understanding how to make the changes and produce the progress that you seek. Having a goal is great, but until you know what has stopped you in the past from moving in the direction you desire, you are likely to reproduce the same results. Matthew 28:16-20 is the recording of Jesus’ “Great Commission” to His Disciples. In order for them to make disciples, they had to know who they were as His disciples, where they had failed, and what would be required of them. Likewise, to baptize others, they had to know what it was to be baptized, not just in water or a physical sense, but to be completely sold out to living as Christ lived and willing to set the example.
It is easy to hear the term “Great Commission” and dismiss it as an event, but for each of us, “The Great Commission” is a co-mission. It is a shared mission, with other disciples and with Christ. It is easy to get lost when we mistake it as our own mission, a personal journey, and that how we do it is up to us, and that our success is determined by our own abilities. “The Great Commission” was given to the Disciples together, to be carried out together, supported together, and achieved together. When the Holy Spirit would descend, It would descend upon them all, and each of them would become an important part of the Gospel being spread, not because of who they were, but because of whose they were.
Do I know who I am because I know whose I am?
Do I know what I have been saved from in order to share it with others?
Do I seek opportunities to join others in reaching others with the Good News?