So Darius and Kelly went to church, right? They grew up in this church and loved God from the very beginning. They became fast friends and even went to the same schools together all the way up through college.
While in their college Christian group’s meeting one Friday, they met a man named Rodrigo. Rodrigo was from the Philippines and was graduating at the end of the school year.
Talking with Rodrigo that evening, they learned that he had just accepted Christ as his Savior at church the previous Sunday. They were so happy and excited to hear this and exchanged numbers with Rodrigo in hopes of contacting him again soon. It didn’t take long, because the very next day, Rodrigo invited them out for coffee. They talked for hours over Starbucks, and before the three of them could even realize it, they were fast friends.
Over the course of the year, the three of them were inseparable – always going to church together, getting lunch together, even walking each other to class on campus.
One day Rodrigo joined Darius and Kelly at their favorite table in the local cafe with a very serious look on his face. “Guys I think I’m going to drop out of college, at least for a while.”
This came as a complete shock to the pair, because by this time, Rodrigo only had a few more months before he graduated. After the initial shock wore off, they decided that he must be joking and began to laugh it off.
“I’m serious guys,” Rodrigo persisted. “I can’t wait any longer. It’s time for me to go back to my hometown and share the gospel with my people.”
Kelly and Darius didn’t know how to respond to that. You see, they had never even considered the act of spreading the gospel. To them, living the Christian life had always been just the way their lives went. Of course they were always thrilled when a friend of theirs would get saved, but they never even considered trying to save their friends themselves. Kelly was going to school to be in interior design and Darius was trying to get into filmography.
They tried to convince Rodrigo to reconsider, but he would not be dissuaded; and a week later, he was on a plane back home.
Go and Do. It’s what Christ called us to.
Mark 16:15 says, “He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.'”
This verse doesn’t say “please” anywhere. It doesn’t say “if it’s convenient for you”. It says “Go”, which to all English teachers/majors out there, you know that it implies the imperative (You) before the sentence. This is a command. Not a request.
There will be no sugar coating today, my friends. Jesus has said it clearly enough, so why aren’t we doing what is asked of us? For a long time, I have given the excuse, “I will let my actions speak for me.” I always thought that being a good and righteous person (and I constantly fail at that, by the way) would help people see Christ, and these actions may very well do just that. But I don’t remember reading anywhere in the Bible something that says “If you do good, they will come” (very Field-of-Dreams, if you ask me). No, Christ gives a very simple command of action.
I’ve also given the excuse, “But I’m not a speaker. I don’t know how to preach.” Preaching isn’t just speaking. In Romans, Paul talks about our spiritual gifts; he even lists them off just in case we couldn’t figure it out for ourselves:
“We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.” – Romans 12:6-8
God has given each one of us our own special spiritual gifts, and it’s our job to use them to accomplish His command in Mark.
One question that might be going through your head right now is the idea that Rodrigo (from the story above) didn’t even wait for graduation before he left to go share the good news with his hometown in the Philippines. There is no word “now” in Mark 16:15, so why did he leave so immediately?
This sense of urgency Rodrigo feels in the story is quite warranted and actually advisable. Jesus says in Matthew 24:42-44:
“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him.”
This can be paralleled to 2 Peter 3:10 which talks about this day of the Lord coming “like a thief in the night” – suddenly and unexpectedly. So there can be no mistaking a slight theme of urgency in the Bible concerning the last days of earth. They could be next year. Next month. Next week. Tomorrow. 5 minutes from now. We don’t know. Which is why the time to act is now.
God has commanded us as Christians to go out and preach the gospel. And the time to do that is now. Will people be receptive? Yes, but you may encounter 100 non-receptive people before you find that one. That doesn’t mean you should give up, because the Bible tells us that all of heaven celebrates when just one more person comes to the Lord [Luke 15:7].
So what am I saying? Do we need to all pack up and go to all the unreached parts of the world? Well no…but yes. The unreached parts of the world aren’t just in other countries and continents. They are in your own neighborhood, at your school, in your workplace, and sitting in the pew behind you on Sunday. God has placed you where He wants you to be right now. Now it’s your job to act on it. What are you going to do?
I’d like to challenge you now as I challenge myself to the same thing. God has given us a specific set of spiritual gifts (teaching, serving, giving, to name a few). He has also placed us right where He wants us. Now it’s time for us to seek out the opportunities He has set before us and use our spiritual gifts as a witness for Christ. It’s not going to be easy. But what in life worth doing is?
Personally, I already have felt resistance on campus, but other brothers and sister in Christ have encouraged me to keep me strong, and I am slowly but surely gaining boldness. I remember sitting in church this past Sunday. As our pastor was giving a powerful message on the resurrection and the immense hope we have in it, I couldn’t help but feel a slight desperation. This desperation was rooted in my experiences so far seeing so many people outright reject the Christian faith before even trying to understand it. I have to admit, it had me feeling a little disheartened. Things seemed to take a turn for the worse as the sermon came to a close when a medical emergency cut the service short (last I heard, everyone is doing just fine, praise God). As things began to calm down, I got home, and had the chance to think things over, I realized two things:
1 – Life is short, and I need to make the best of it while I’m still here.
2 – Life is short and I need to witness to as many people as I can while they’re still here.
This is what matters – not my disheartening. God has called us to persevere and not give up because He has a purpose for each and every one of us.
I don’t know what motivates you, but I sure hope you can get a fire lit under you to start spreading the good news. Jesus is alive. We have hope in an everlasting life after death. And that hope resides in the most loving and gracious God anyone could ever fathom.
I’ll leave it at this. I do encourage you to go out this week and find someone to witness to in your own way according to your spiritual gifts. The more you do it, the bolder you become. Look at Paul – he did it so much that he wasn’t even afraid to witness to Nero and his court.
Do be on the lookout for my next blog, coming up soon. I have some exciting news (and maybe another challenge) to share with you guys! In the meantime, be watchful; and may God bless you with lots of peace and joy as you go about your week.