Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A License to Drive...

I bet we all remember that day.... standing in line... waiting expectantly to get to the front... getting our picture taken... and then it happened... some underpaid overworked civil employee hands us our driver's license! FREEDOM! Finally, after years of waiting, and a year of "practicing" it's here. We are free to rule the roads...

There's no denying the sense of power and authority that having a driver's license gives to a teenager (and the sense of dread that it brings to their parents). With a simple piece of plastic, a world of opportunity and excitement is opened to them. They are able to move and operate free from other people's control and have to be responsible for the outcome of their choices. This is a huge step for many, if not all, teens in their transition to adulthood.

Sadly, I feel that spiritually, many people never get to this same level of freedom and maturity.

Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." - Matt 28:16-20

Most of us know the great commission, and probably can quote it. So, why don't many of us do it? I have found some that believe that because Jesus gave this to the eleven remaining disciples, that be by proxy gave this commission only to the clergy of the church and not to the everyday person. Since there was no professional clergy then, and I don't believe that view would mesh well with the rest of Jesus' teachings, I think it is safer to assume he is talking to each and every member of the Christian faith. Christ's words could better be described as the great "Co-Mission".

But the question remains, why do we not still see individual followers of Christ following this, Jesus' last directive to His church? I believe this is for two reasons:

(a) The incorrect view and application of this passage of scripture

(b) Fear or apathy on the part of the individual believer

As I have previously stated, I think the "clergy" view of this passage is incorrect. However, the application of it is what is more insidious. In believing that the great commission was only given to the clergy, you are in effect incapacitating the majority of the body of Christ and lulling them into passivity. "It's their job to just go to church and pay the pastors to do ministry..." This is not at all what Jesus intended for his body. When was the last time you saw only one aspect or organ of your body work?

Secondly, I think because of this passive mindset, many Christians are either apathetic to the call of the gospel, or are afraid they won't be good enough. This is a very real and difficult problem to deal with, but we must own up to our mistakes, and being to release as many people to function in their faith as possible.

No matter how long you teach someone about a car,
you still can not say you've taught that person to drive,
until they get in the car and drive it away from you...

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