In Philippians, Paul writes, “To live is Christ.” John Piper expounds on Paul’s expression in his book Don’t Waste Your Life, where he writes, “You get one pass at life. That’s all. Only one. And the lasting measure of that life is Jesus Christ… If Christ is not made much of in our lives, they are wasted.” The truth is that when Jesus called you to follow him, he called you to an un-wasted life. Jesus brought you from death into life, and this life is to be lived to the fullest measure for him.
At your death, before Jesus Christ, how will your life be measured?
Thankfully, Jesus didn’t leave you unaware of what he wants you to do in this life. He declared to you your destiny – indeed, the destiny of every true follower of Christ. In Matthew 4:19, Jesus said, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” If you are a disciple of Jesus Christ, you are a missionary. This is your destiny; you are a fisher of men, a disciple-making disciple, a missionary. The Holy Spirit has been progressively transforming you into a disciple in order that you actively multiply your faith in Christ in others. This is your destiny, and at your death, before Jesus Christ, how will your life be measured? Will you be counted faithful as an obedient fisher of men, or have you been on the shoreline, equipped with everything you need (2 Tim 3:16-17), but never casting the gospel line in faith as a fisher of men?
Friend, you can’t go back and change your past, but you can refuse to let your past dictate your future. You can shut up the condemnation of Satan for things left undone and declare, “From this day forward I will follow Jesus in His mission. I will not waste my life.” First, repent for the sins of apathy and absence from the mission. Then ask Jesus to ignite in you a passion for his mission that will never be quenched. Pray this prayer each morning. Then finally, taking a page from the shoemaker, “Just do it!”
It’s not too late!
It’s not too late! No matter your age or station in life, you can begin today in the mission of Jesus. Engagement in the mission of Jesus Christ is not only for the young, or the strong, or one gender or another. The beauty of Jesus’ mission is that it is for every believer, everyday at home and abroad until he or she meets their Maker face to face. How can you get involved? You can get involved in the mission of Jesus though Praying, Giving, and Going.
First, you can pray. We all must pray. Prayer is essential for the mission.
- Pray specifically for your church to be a gospel-centered mission outpost.
- Pray for your pastor as he leads and equips you for your everyday mission field.
- Pray for your Sunday School and small groups that you will be focused on growing the Kingdom of God through active missions and not just growing in personal spirituality.
- Pray for opportunities to prayerfully, financially, and physically partner with a North American church plant through SEND North America and the North American Mission Board (NAMB).
- Pray for missionaries to come from your church into the North American or foreign mission field for a season. Perhaps you are this person.
- Pray for the many foreign missionaries who are actively serving through the International Mission Board and NAMB.
- And pray specifically, by name, for the salvation of five lost people in your life. You are the God sent missionary to these people.
Secondly, you can give. Someone once said, “I don’t want anybody’s money, but the people I owe want theirs pretty bad.” The truth of that statement is that the mission of Jesus in our community, nation, and world requires a financial commitment. We must commit to give to the mission of Jesus. The Word of God challenges us to:
- Give with priority. We honor God by giving out of our finances first before anything else (Proverbs 3:9).
- Give sacrificially with great faith. What struck Jesus in Luke 21:1-4 was not the amount of the gift the widow gave, but rather it was the amount of the sacrifice and faith the gift represented.
- Give with a grateful heart. Our motives matter. God wants our giving to be a delight to us as we purposefully join Jesus in His mission through giving (c.f. 2 Corinthians 9:7).
Just as we can pray more faithfully, we can also give with greater faith.
- If you have never given before, please pray for the faith to begin giving to Jesus’ mission through his church – your local church. God is not calling us to all give the same amount, but God is calling us to make the same sacrifice. God takes every gift and combines them for his great purpose.
- Perhaps you are giving but inconsistently. Remember that the mission of Jesus goes on everyday, so pray about being consistent in your giving.
- Perhaps you have been very blessed financially. Please pray how God would have you give in a special way to support Jesus’ mission through your church. Perhaps your giving can send people into the mission field that can’t otherwise afford to bear the full load of the expenses.
- And finally pray how God would have you give directly toward the church planting and mission enterprise going on right here in North America through NAMB by giving to the Annie Armstrong Easter offering being collected now through Easter.
And finally, you can go. Short-term missions, both internationally and in North America, stoke the mission embers in the heart of every believer. Many opportunities are available, especially to Southern Baptist Churches through the International Mission Board and the North American Mission Board. Many more opportunities may exist through your state convention. For North Carolina Baptists, there are many opportunities for you to join in short-term missions to your community, your state, your country, and unto the nations. Prepare for these opportunities and plan to go. If plans are never made and commitments are never extended, then nothing will ever happen. Remember, “Just do it!”
However, don’t forget that short-term missions do not replace the everyday mission to which you have been called. Everyday God is putting you among people who are just as desperate for the life-giving gospel as you are (Phil 1:21). These people are your “everyday people group.” He has equipped you with himself by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and God has given you His Word to reach these people with the gospel of Jesus Christ for his glory.
So follower of Jesus…
You are on the shoreline. You have all the fishing tackle you need. Now cast the gospel line in faith and begin fishing for men!
 John Piper, Don’t Waste Your Life (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2007), 13, 64. This book is available for free from desiringgod.com.