God’s heart for the nations
Courtesy: Daniel Bramlett
“While you are reading this I am trekking through the Andes mountains of Southern Peru. I’ve been going to Peru now for about eight years. I’ve been over 30 times. I do not go for vacation. We sleep on cots. We eat potatoes and rice almost every day we’re there. We spend our days in villages at or between 10,000 and 15,000 feet.
People often ask me why we go. These are not humanitarian trips. We are not Peace Corp or US Ambassadors. Our goal is not to teach good hygiene, safe food preparation or proper medical techniques. The reason we go to the mountains is singular. The people there do not know who Jesus is and we do know.
Jesus gives us this mandate often in the New Testament. It is not implied. This is not something you have to read between the lines to discover. God’s heart for the nations is written over and over throughout the pages of Scripture. We hear it in His promise to Abraham to bless all the families on earth through his offspring. We see it in Rahab’s rescue at Jericho. We have such a beautiful picture of our Father’s heart in the redeeming story of Ruth the Moabite and we witness the powerful invitation God makes through Jonah to the people of Nineveh. But it is no clearer than in Jesus’ command to make disciples of all nations in Matthew 28.
Jesus is preparing His disciples for His departure. He makes one final summary of their purpose. He tells them to go make disciples of all nations. He tells them to do that by baptizing them and teaching them to obey everything He has taught them. And then Jesus makes the awesome promise to never leave or abandon them. The kicker is this disciple making command is given to the entire Church, not just the local group of disciples.
We receive the word that seals the deal right before Jesus ascends into Heaven. He tells us to go and make disciples where we are and, not or, in every nation on earth. The command is not optional, nor is it based on preference. That is, it is not dependent on whether or not we like to travel, like adventure, or are people persons. The only requirement is that we be disciples of Jesus.
Have you ever considered your role in God’s great commission for the Church? Where should you be going? For whom should you be praying? When is it time for you to go? I want to try and answer each of these questions.
Your role in the Church is that of a Disciple Maker. There is no way to skirt this. The rest of the New Testament is written with this assumption. You start making disciples right where you are, but with an international scope. Right now God has placed people who do not yet know Him all around you. He has also given you strategic access to other nations. In our small part of the world many different nations are represented. It has never been easier for us to disciple the nations than it is right now. As you ask God for His heart for the lost, He gives it freely! He will make you aware almost immediately of people He wants you to pray for and live intentionally alongside. And the time for you to go make disciples is NOW!
Please pray for our time in the mountains this week. Pray for the Holy Spirit to make us sensitive to the people and places He has already been working in. Pray for our safety and stamina as we live at a few thousand feet above what we are used to. And please ask me about our trip when you see me around town! I love to tell the story of God’s work among the nations!
One day we are going to gather around the throne of God and hear the accents of every nation on earth as we sing the praises of our King. If I don’t see you in town, I hope to see you there!”