Sunday’s sermon, in preparation for the celebration of Easter, themed around three words: Find, Tell, Bring. Mention was made of the “Great Commission” and immediately my mind began to wander down a bunny trail.
It started when I jotted down this: “Co-Mission.” Because I am a word geek, before I knew it these words were randomly scrawled across my page: commit, common, community, communion, commiserate. Having been invited to write this week’s blog, I decided it would be about the Great Commission. After all, in my Tuesday morning prayer group, it’s been the center of our conversation for the last few weeks, so certainly this was a sign from God. I would study it and then write three brilliant paragraphs. I started with the Dictionary.
The authority to perform a task or certain duties.
To authorize; send on a mission.
Ah. Not quite the “CO”-ness I was expecting. And actually, commission is used most often as a military or legal term. Well then, who termed Matthew 28 “The Great Commission” in the first place? Turns out, nobody really knows. But the idea seems to have first emerged in the 14th century. What? Does that mean it’s just a 14th century idea?
After trying to do just a little word sleuthing, I was already flummoxed! I honestly and truly expected the word commission to fit hand-in-glove with the words communion and community. Had I “mis”ed” it? Meanwhile, God noticed how far I had hopped down my bunny trail and tapped me on the shoulder. “Hey, let’s read Colossians.”
We always pray for you, and we give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. For we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and your love for all of God’s people, which come from your confident hope of what God has reserved for you in heaven. You have had this expectation ever since you first heard the truth of the Good News.
This same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world. It is bearing fruit everywhere by changing lives, just as it changed your lives from the day you first heard and understood the truth about God’s wonderful grace.
So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better. We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father.
Col 1:3-6, 9-12/New Living Translation
Wait. That makes it sound more like an organic process and less like an ordered process! The sharing of the Good News isn’t a command? Haven’t we made a commitment? But now you’re saying it’s more like farming?
Here is the beauty of God. When the Good News goes out, it is both ordered and organic. The act of scattering seeds is deliberate yet where they land is somewhat random. So it is about living a good life and speaking life-giving words. It is packing your suitcase yet being willing to leave it all behind. It is intentionally planting and it is also waiting for the sun and rain, and time, to do their jobs.
And I think maybe that was the point of the sermon. As Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow.”
March 17, 2013