Why doesn’t God “beam us up” as soon as we believe? Maybe it’s because He wants us to experience the joy of partnering with Him and the fulfillment that comes from making a difference together.
Joining God in His great passion, reminds me of helping my dad mow the lawn when I was a boy. In hindsight, I know he was doing all the work, but he let me grab the handle and push the mower with him. Then he would smile as I ran in the house shouting with joy, “I mowed the lawn!”
And I know he enjoyed seeing my excitement, as much as I enjoyed the sense of fulfillment. Working together made the task all the more enjoyable for both of us!
We see the same enjoyment played out in the Gospels as Father and Son work to woo the world. We experience it too as we join the Father in his work. As our love for Him grows, we learn to love what He loves, and who He loves.
So whom does God love? Most kids in Sunday school know the verse, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
However, it is not as commonly known how pervasive, God’s heart for the nations is represented throughout the Bible. Did you know that there are over 6,000 references in the Bible to the nations by name (Greeks, Babylonians, or Moabites) or by allusion (tongues, tribes, nations, etc.)? On average, that’s about five times per chapter!
This theme of God’s heart for the world continues throughout Scripture. From the first book of the Bible where God tells Abram, that “all families on earth will be blessed through you.” (Genesis 12:3) to the last book that describes “a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne….” (Revelation 7:9)
And so I love how Jesus can take these grandiose plans of reaching all people and can bring it back home, by issuing his own neighboring challenge within the great commandment. In fact, when he gave the challenge to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt 22:39), it made this entire process of reaching the world very personal, scalable, and reproducible.
Especially now, during these extraordinary times of globalization, as people from all over the world are moving into our city. Each one of us has an unprecedented opportunity to participate in the Great Commission.
If each believer around the world took this neighbor challenge seriously, we would be joining our Father in his work of blessing all nations. We would be participating in the joy of inviting people from every tribe and language into the Kingdom.
So join us as a church, as we continue in the neighboring challenge and start becoming the kind of people who really love our neighbors. My hope is that you will be filled with an inexpressible joy, as you join our Heavenly Father in what he wants to do in this world.