Send Me . . . Just Not There!
by Shannon Wagers
Yesterday at Christ’s Church our lead pastor, Trevor DeVage, concluded the “Dangerous Prayers” sermon series talking about this dangerous prayer—“God, here I am. Send me!” If you’ve been around Christ’s Church Mason for a reasonable bit of time, you’ve probably heard the phrase, “Go and Make, Don’t Sit and Take.” This is an intentional emphasis on getting believers actively engaged in fulfilling the Great Commission found in Matthew 28:16-20. It is a daily, moment-by-moment effort. It is a refining process, and none of us are perfect in this task.
We can learn and be encouraged from the story of Frank Laubach. Frank found himself dissatisfied that after years as a minister, he still was not living his days “in minute-by-minute effort to follow the will of God.” He then began to think about how to align his actions with God’s will. He decided that every few minutes he would ask, “Father, what do you desire to be done this minute?” After a few months of this Laubach said, “This concentration upon God is strenuous, but everything else has ceased to be so!” Laubach has the distinction of being the only American missionary to be honored on a U.S. postage stamp.
Most people understand that a “commission” means being sent on a mission, with the Great Commission being a mission from God. And we’re not talking about the “mission from God” that actors Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi were sent on in the Blues Brothers movie. Have you moved past just hearing him to responding to being sent? There’s the deeper meaning of the word “commission” that we often look past. Commission is the act of entrusting with power or authority. God has placed his trust in you to take action. Have you asked yourself this question:
“What is the mission that God is sending me on? Where is he moving my heart to serve?”
Making a Deal with God
My family has always been active in serving in church. If the doors were open, we were there. This was doubly true for my wife, whose father was a pastor for several decades. We both have seen and heard stories of countless missionaries, many of whom are serving in other countries. When hearing that God might uproot people from their comforts in the U.S., I’ve heard stories of those trying to make a deal with God: “I’ll serve you . . . but please don’t send me to Africa!”
A number of years ago singer and songwriter Scott Wesley Brown wrote a song called, “Please Don’t Send Me to Africa.” It’s a tongue-in-cheek parody but also an honest expression of many believers’ attitude toward being sent on mission by God.
“Oh Lord I am your willing servant,
You know that I have been for years.
I’m here in this pew every Sunday and Wednesday,
I’ve stained it with many a tear.
I’ve given You years of my service,
I’ve always given my best,
And I’ve never asked you for anything much,
So, Lord I deserve this request.
Please don’t send me to Africa,
I don’t think I’ve got what it takes.
I’m just a man, I’m not a Tarzan,
Don’t like lions, gorillas, or snakes.
I’ll serve you here in suburbia
In my comfortable middle-class life;
But please don’t send me out into the bush
Where the natives are restless at night.
I’ll see that the money is gathered,
I’ll see that the money is sent.
I’ll wash and stack the communion cups,
I’ll tithe eleven percent.
I’ll volunteer for the nursery,
I’ll go on the youth group retreat,
I’ll usher, I’ll deacon , I’ll go door to door,
Just let me keep warming this seat.”
Do You Call Him Savior, But Not Lord?
Author Jeff Clarke wrote an article that captures the critical difference between calling Jesus Savior and calling him Lord. It embodies the difference between obeying and going where we’re sent vs. just warming a seat. Clarke shares,
“‘Jesus is Savior’ emphasizes sins forgiven. ‘Jesus is Lord’ emphasizes a reorientation in life, which includes sins forgiven. I’m no longer the king of my domain, Jesus is. This reorientation changes everything.”
“‘Jesus is Savior’ impacts me. ‘Jesus is Lord’ impacts me and everyone around me.”
“‘Jesus is Savior’ affects only the so-called spiritual aspects in life. ‘Jesus is Lord’ affects all of life; it is holistic and all-encompassing. It isn’t limited to Sunday, or a midweek program.”
“‘Jesus is Lord’ demands our everything. ‘Jesus is Savior’ does not. The first focuses on a lifetime. The second on a one-time decision.”
It’s one thing to make Jesus our personal Savior, but another to embrace him as Lord and to be sent. Being a disciple is not optional and is not directed towards the few who choose to take Jesus seriously. With Christ and his Great Commission, it is all or nothing or nothing at all. It’s a “Go and make, not sit and take!” proposition.
Missions are fulfilled when we gather with other like-minded people who are focused on sharing the gospel and bringing hope to wherever we are called. Transformation then happens in the lives of people and the people who go to serve them. God’s Spirit works in and through us to accomplish his will. When you are used by God to bring about his purpose, realize that is what you were created for.
According to several sources, only about 50 percent of those who make decisions for Christ actually become disciples—truly devoted followers of his. Is it because they have named him “Jesus as Savior” but not “Jesus as Lord”? The title you choose to prioritize deeply affects the way you view and experience the entire gospel.
Today I challenge you to choose to call him Savior and Lord and act upon what that means. Choose to accept his mission for your life and see how it fulfills the Great Commission. Choose to accept your call and where it sends you. God will be faithful to be with you every step of the way.
Shannon Wagers is a Corporate Trainer and Master Facilitator for P&G’s Innovation Lab called “The GYM.” Shannon resides in Liberty Township with his wife Ruth, daughter Katherine, and dog Bear.