Friday, January 17, 2014

In the Beginning

I have something very simple to share today.  Simple but beautiful.

I went to church this past Sunday, which I am not always physically able to do anymore.  And it was amazing- God really showed up in that service.  The worship was pure, there was an undeniable presence of God throughout the whole service, and there was just an atmosphere of strength and freedom- I was truly blessed and very happy to be there.  

We had a guest preacher with us and he read out of Matthew 28:16-20, which is known as the Great Commission- it is the part in the Bible after Jesus has been crucified where He meets His disciples and gives them a final charge- a commission to take the gospel to all people and a promise that He will always be with them.  The verses say that after Jesus' crucifixion His disciples go up to the mountain- like Jesus told them do to and BAM, there He was.  Risen.  Alive.  Standing Right There.  They worshipped Him of course, and some doubted of course.  And then Jesus gives them a command which is known as the Great Commission- the commission of every follower of Jesus from that moment until now.  It is why churches exist- to do this very thing.  He says: 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.”

After reading these verses the preacher asked us to turn to the person next us and talk about which verses meant the most to us.  You could blindfold me, tie me up, spin me around and drop me in the middle of the Sahara and I would know exactly what verses people would say have the most meaning.  "Go and make disciples", "surely I am with you", "I am with you always", "to the very end."...And rightfully so.  Those are powerful, powerful verses- it's the Great Commission and those are words to cling to.

But when I read these verses that morning, I saw something entirely different.

I saw verse 16: "Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go."

Before seeing Jesus risen on the mountain.  Before worshipping Him.  Before doubting.  Before being given the Great Commission.  Before any of that could even have happened, they first had to get up to the mountain that Jesus was going to appear on- they had to take the very first step of obedience.

But you see, most people, they overlook that small obscure passage but without it, there would be no such commission.  That line- that simple, small step in the direction of rightness sets the stage for the greatest call known to mankind.   I am calling your attention to an unknown verse because the same principle that lead the disciples up the mountain to an encounter with Jesus that changed their lives is the same principle that calls into your life and into mine.  You will never get to the great without passing through the small.   The greatest things you will ever achieve in your life will only be decided in the moments preceding it- will you obey in the simple moments before any act of greatness has ever even been born yet?  Hearing God, knowing God, following God, and obeying God in the obscure is the only way you will ever encounter the great.   Your future is decided in the decisions you make today.   

I am passionate about you.  About you becoming who God intended you to be- who you really are.  Not who you want to be, not who your friends think you are, and not who you have been all this time.  I want you to BE.  

I just WANT so much.  And when I read that verse I realized that the best piece of advice I can implore you with, other than to give Jesus your whole heart and life, is to remember that the first, smallest steps is what will determine the course of rest of your path.  Righteousness is born when nobody is looking, and integrity done over and over again in the shadows of obscurity.   A small, unknown verse is the reason for one of the greatest verses in the Bible.  Such is your life.  

There would have been no Great Commission had there been no obedience to the first command.  We only know the great part, but we seem to forget to pay attention to the small start- and yet without the small there would have been no greatness.

It always begins today.

"For the person for whom small things do not exist, the great is not great."
Jose Ortega y Gasset 

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