DayBreaks for 07/23/13 – Keepers of the Aquarium
Matthew 28:18-20 (NLT) Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Of course you recognize the passage above and can probably quote it nearly verbatim. We know it as the Great Commission. What is it that makes this commission so “great”? Several things:
FIRST: the scope of the command is great – “all the nations”, “all the commands”. Jesus doesn’t have a small vision, but a universal one. He doesn’t care about just one nation but every one of them. He doesn’t want us to just teach the commands that we like while skipping the others – he wants us to convey each and every one of them!
SECOND: the authority behind this command comes from the one who has all the power in the universe (all of creations) as well as all the power in heaven itself. That’s what you call Authority with a capital A! It isn’t some piddly pip-squeak who doesn’t matter who has given the command to go, but someone who can do something about it if we do – and if we don’t! And knowing that this matters so much to someone with that much authority means we should take it very, very seriously!
FINALLY: this was the last command Jesus gave his followers, giving it special significance. He would no longer be here physically to do it himself. He knew that the disciples would only be on earth a relatively short time and it was imperative for their disciples to take on the challenge and so on down throughout every generation for as long as the earth will stand.
I fear, however, that there’s trouble in paradise. I fear that the church (that means you and me!!!) has lost the fever for evangelism for the most part. I fear, that what Paul Harvey said may well be true: “We’ve drifted away from being fishers of men to being keepers of the aquarium.“
Ouch. Double-ouch. Why are churches not growing? Hasn’t Mr. Harvey hit it on the head? We’re more interested in feeding what we’ve got than in getting more fish. Both are needed, but it’s far too easy to excuse our lack of evangelism by saying “My calling is to be a teacher, not an evangelist.” I know whereof I speak, for I used that excuse myself. But Jesus’ command wasn’t just to those with the gift of evangelism, but to all believers. It’s time we get to it because time is the one thing that is running out…
PRAYER: Lord, I know that throughout my life I’ve given you all sorts of reasons why I am not more involved with personally sharing the gospel with unbelievers. I also know that I don’t have that much time left. I pray that you’ll help me and all of us who call ourselves by your glorious Name stop being keepers of fish to fishing for them! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright 2013 by Galen C. Dalrymple.
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