True confession: I am a dork. Way back in my college days, I bought a Hebrew/Greek key word Bible and one of the things that I love to do when I study the Bible is check out the shades of meaning that don’t precisely translate into English from the original languages. This has led to lots of “aha” moments when I learn something new from verses that I’ve read many times before.
So when I heard this morning that the word translated “go” in Matthew 28:19 (You know the one—“Go make disciples of all nations…”) isn’t really a command, my interest was piqued. Sure enough, the beginning of the verse may better be translated “as you go” or “as you are walking along with God.” It’s less about frenzy and more about relationship. It’s less about seeking out a new mission field and more about making disciples and baptizing and teaching as we live our lives on mission.
I love this shift in thinking.
You see, there are some causes that can get me all kinds of fired up. Just ask me about sustainable development in Haiti or about permanent families for kids in foster care or about former “program kids” taking over the leadership of an urban ministry and you’ll see what I mean. As I’ve gone (to Camden, to Haiti, to the foster care system in Maryland), these particular people and places have captured my heart and mind. They have awakened passion and compassion inside of me. They have compelled me to give of myself for the purpose of seeing discipleship and baptism and teaching happen.
And that’s ok. But you haven’t walked with me.
Maybe you’re passionate about building churches in Honduras. Or building relationships with college students who are away from home. Or looking into the eyes of children with special needs and showing them that they are loved. Or fixing cars really, really well.
And that’s ok too. I’ve spent a lot of time in the church and I know that it’s easy for us to criticize and dismiss. It’s easy for us to look down on people who don’t share our particular passions or preferences. It’s easy for us to debate the “best” way to spend our time and money and energy.
The reality is that as we’re walking along with God, our journey may take us to Camden or Haiti or the DSS building in downtown Frederick. It may take us to Honduras or to a college campus or to a quiet classroom or to a garage. Likely it will take us to our own living rooms. Our own offices. Our own church. And you know who will be there? People. People longing for an invitation to join us on the journey.
This week, I’m praying for open eyes and an open heart to notice, really notice, the people around me. I’m praying for courage to cheer for you as you live on mission—even when your journey looks very different than mine.
This week, I’m choosing to take a deep breath and just walk.