Sing Your Part
What does a life devoted to the Great Commission look like? What does it mean to be a Christian who is radically obedient to God? For most of us, these questions paint a picture of a man or woman in some foreign nation, sitting on the ground with a group of people surrounding them, meeting in a house church late at night to avoid being caught by the authorities, teaching the gospel to unreached peoples for hours at a time. “This is Great Commission work,” we think, and then slink back to our jobs feeling guilty because our lives look so different from the one we think is truly obedient.
The reality is that most Christians do not live a life like the one imagined above. Most Christians spend their day working a normal job, taking care of a family, loving a small but consistent church family, building relationships slowly with non-believers, and maintaining their own spiritual walk. Whether it is because of their particular gifts, callings, or stations in life, most Christians are not the Great Commission Rambo we envision when we think of Matthew 28:19.
But that’s okay. In fact, that’s the way it’s supposed to be. The same God who said, “Go and make disciples of all nations,” also said, “there are varieties of service,” (1 Cor. 12:5).
The command to make disciples is a universal command to the entire church. The entire life of the Christian must be devoted to the calling to see people praise Jesus in every language and among every tribe. We must all be radical. There is no excuse for disobedience. I do not want to cause anyone to lose this emphasis.
I do, however, want to emphasize another equally biblical truth. While we are to be unified in service, we are not called to be identical in service. The church is like a giant choir, and we all have a different part to sing. We are not commanded to sing identically to one another. We are only commanded to sing. My part may not sound like some famous missionary’s, and yours might not sound like some great pastor’s. That’s okay. What matters is that we sing our part and we sing our best. The Great Commission is a big enough calling to justify different members taking up different battlefronts. It is big enough to justify C.S. Lewis’s endeavor to spend all day reading pagan literature for the sake of Christ, big enough to justify Blaise Pascal’s hours spent in the laboratory searching out the mysteries of God in creation, big enough to encompass Eric Liddell and his Olympic races which he ran to experience the pleasure of God. Each of these men obeyed the Great Commission, as each of them have been used by God to lead people to Christ. But none of them are identical in their service.
Joni Eareckson Tada once said, “Find your voice, and give it spine. Oh, friend, find your voice. Give it courage; give it conviction; give it your all.” That’s what is required of us. You don’t need to have anybody else’s voice. You just need yours. But once you find it, sing! Sing as you study late on Western’s campus, sing as you have another conversation about showing kindness with your young child, sing as you accept the promotion at work which will allow you to function as a lamp set on a stand for all to see. Sing of grace, sing with power, sing with confidence that God approves. And as you sing, realize that your voice is just one part in the chorus that has been resounding throughout all history and will continue to ring out, the chorus that is consuming this world, the chorus which cries out, “Worthy is the Lamb!”