Week 3 of our Men of March series brings my Sunday School teacher, Russ Eiland. I’ve known who Russ was for a while but have only gotten to know him in the last year when I joined his Sunday School class. I discovered that Russ and I share many of the same passions regarding our faith. Russ truly seeks God and obedience. I’m so excited to have him share what God laid on his heart.
It all started with a bus ride two and a half years ago. That’s when God very distinctly asked me a question that has bothered me, helped shape me, motivated me and focused me. I was headed to a sporting event, and the trip would take a few hours. I didn’t really know many of the people I was traveling with, but we had a good time talking about sports and different aspects of life. I don’t remember the exact conversation that a certain group started having, but it was clear that they did not believe in God. I sat there for a while but eventually ended up at the front of the bus by myself. For some reason I started playing some “God” songs on my phone, and I had to put the phone right next to ear to hear the music since I didn’t have ear buds. That’s when God spoke to me. He told me “when you get out of your comfort zone and away from the bubble of people who believe the same way you do, you naturally want to come close to me.” Then God asked me the question – “What are you doing to reach these people?”
During different stages and circumstances over the past couple of years God would tap me on the shoulder and ask me the question again “what are you doing to reach the lost?” That’s when the battle raged…”there are people better suited, you don’t know enough, you’re too big of a sinner, you won’t be accepted…” All the while God kept asking the question.
Even with my flaws and reluctance to be obedient, God wouldn’t give up on me. Not only did He continue to ask, He infused it with another command. This command has been my passion over the past year and has driven a lot of decisions I’ve made. God told me one word, and that word was “Go.” “Go and make disciples, go and take care of the needy, go help the poor… just Go.”
When studying the Bible about the command to ‘Go’ the obvious passage to turn to is the Great Commission. Man, what a powerful passage. Jesus was just crucified, and His disciples were devastated because everything they thought they knew was over. All the teachings Jesus had given them was made void with His last breath on the cross. In the depths of their despair Jesus appeared to them. This event in and of itself is a miracle. Then Jesus gives quite possibly the boldest statement in the Bible, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given unto me.” Jesus is saying that the God of the universe… the God you read about in the Old Testament…the God who gave Him the power to do miracles has given Him all authority not only here on earth but all authority in heaven. As Jesus took a breath to utter His next statement the disciples surely realized that what He was about to say was going to dramatically impact their lives forever. “Go and make disciples.” …..GO….
Do you know how powerful that one word command is?
When he arrived at the other side in the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were so violent that no one could pass that way. “What do you want with us, Son of God?” they shouted. “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?” Some distance from them a large herd of pigs was feeding. 31 The demons begged Jesus, “If you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs.” He said to them, “Go!” So they came out and went into the pigs, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and died in the water. —Matthew 8:28-32
Do you notice the one-word command that Jesus gives to drive out a pair of demons?
So, what if we, as a body of believers, took this command literally? What if we acted as if we’ve received a command and not a suggestion, if or when we feel like it? What if our interpretation wasn’t “I will invite someone to church and let my pastor make them a disciple?” What if we didn’t just “plant the seed” but instead we built relationships with the people who the Holy Spirit places on our hearts? What if we helped them become followers of Christ? What if Jesus asked you, “have you been obedient to this command I gave to everyone who calls me Lord? How many disciples have you made?”