Joy That Sends
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit...
– Matthew 28:19
A recent sermon brought two questions to mind. I remember these questions being asked of me a few years back and their significance has not left me. So today, I will ask them of you.
What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word Missionary?
What was it? Africa? Overseas? Leaving home? Traveling? For most of us, things of that nature come to mind. Now the second question.
Why do we not first think of ourselves?
When I was first asked these questions, they had a weight to them because I never thought of myself first when hearing “missionary.” The truth is, sharing the gospel with others is a call on every believer. The scripture is clear friends. A true encounter with God is an encounter that results in being sent. But perhaps not like you think. Maybe not in the “Go to Africa” since (though going to another country for long or short term missions is not a bad idea!).
I believe, at the foundation, the idea of a Christian being on mission to share the gospel is something simple. Something natural. Think of it like this. You are hearing a joke for the first time and you find it absolutely hilarious. It brings joy to experience hearing it, however, the joy is actually still incomplete. It becomes complete when you do the most natural thing you can imagine. When you share it with someone else in hopes that you will both laugh together.
Listen to how CS Lewis put it:
I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation. It is not out of compliment that lovers keep on telling one another how beautiful they are; the delight is incomplete till it is expressed. It is frustrating to have discovered a new author and not to be able to tell anyone how good he is; to come suddenly, at the turn of the road, upon some mountain valley of unexpected grandeur and then to have to keep silent because the people with you care for it no more than for a tin can in the ditch; to hear a good joke and find no one to share it with.
Friends, there is joy to be had in salvation! Really, think about it. You were once dead in your sin, hopeless, disconnected from God, and he made you alive (Ephesians 2:1-10), gave you a living hope (1 Peter 1:3-9), and brought you to God. (1 Peter 3:18) Now what are we doing to share that joy?
Consider this picture. You climb up a tall tower at a water park. You feel the rush of excitement as you are next in line for the park’s largest and most thrilling waterslide. You’ve been down this slide countless times all day, yet the adrenaline still feels fresh as you think on the cool sensation of the running water splashing around you in the twists and turns. Then the expectation of the refreshing pool of water that awaits at the end brings an elated grin to your face. You are about to take your turn, when out of the corner of your eye, you notice something. Looking out beyond the park’s fence, you see a young child. They are in tattered clothing and using their hands to scoop into a dirty and muddy ditch. They draw up what they have retrieved to try and drink it. As you watch this you hear the clean water rushing down the slide. You shrug then joyfully go down the slide again and let the image of the young child vanish from your mind as you laugh and celebrate in the clean water for the rest of the day.
This picture is of people who enjoy and delight in the grace of God, basking in the glories of their salvation, with never having a desire of sharing it with another. They are like people who play and splash in a water park filled with a million gallons of water while watching someone walk miles to a filthy ditch in hopes of finding water to sustain their life.
Friends, is our enjoyment of God a sending joy? Or is it one that we just plan to sit back and soak up? We were not made to stay silent! We were made to find our joy fuller in the sharing of the Gospel of Jesus Christ! So, honestly, how are we doing with that?
Sunday Reflections are short articles that share thoughts from weekly Bible reading, devotions, sermons, or times of worship. You can find more of them here.