The Clock and the Great Commission
As I write this letter, we have just completed a wonderful Advent Season and the New Year is “just around the corner!” Last night I was thinking about the topic for this letter, and as I thumbed through my new copy of World Magazine, I paid careful attention to all the well-known people who had passed away this year, and I particularly noted their ages! And of course, we were surprised at the sudden passing of Carrie Fisher, which was quickly followed by her mother, Debbie Reynolds’ passing!
In his wonderful little book, Habits of Grace, Enjoying Jesus through the Spiritual Disciplines, by David Mathis, he has closing chapters on The Commission and The Clock. I am going to reverse the order and write to you about these important topics.
First, as I think about how quickly 2016 is passing, I took note of what Mathis had to say about time, or the clock: “You are always on the clock. There’s no avoiding it. Every human, in every place on the planet, whatever the culture, is subject to the incessant passing of time. The sands are always falling. No matter how much we neglect it, suppress it, or stress about it, there is nothing we can do to stem the onslaught.”
In response to this “incessant passing of time,” we are to following the advice of scripture and “number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12) and “look carefully at how we walk, making the best use of time” (Ephesians 5:15-16).
Mathis then goes on to explain the concepts of time management by “planning with big stones,” prioritizing what has to be done, then allowing time for random acts of kindness, and by making the most of our mornings. These are good concepts, but I would like to take it a step further and make The Great Commission (Matthew 28:19), flowing out of our worship, our top priority for the New Year and always. As a church, generally speaking, we have the skills, time, and money for this great endeavor, which in turn becomes a great means of God’s ongoing grace for us!
Mathis goes on to remind us of the benefits of ongoing disciple making. First, it shows us our smallness and God’s bigness. In response, we are to follow the example of Campus Outreach and “think big, start small, go deep.” Mathis continues, “Think big: God’s global glory, among all the nations. Start small: focus on a few, like Jesus did. Go deep: invest at depth in those few, so deeply that they will be equipped and prepared to do the same in the lives of others.”
Second, disciple making challenges us to be holistic Christians. As we invest in younger believers toward their balanced overall spiritual growth, we ourselves are reminded of and encouraged toward more spiritual growth.
Third, disciple making makes us more aware of our sin. Sharing ourselves with someone means getting close, and the closer we get, the more aware we are of our own sin.
And fourth and finally, disciple making teaches us to lean heavier on Jesus. Since disciple making can be messy, difficult work, we will see our own weakness and failures and hopefully, lean more and more on Jesus.
This New Year, let’s manage our passing time wisely by focusing on the Great Commission!