‘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, baptising 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.’ Matthew 28.18-20
These words from the very end of Matthew's Gospel have been at the heart of the call to the Church to spread the good news of Jesus throughout all nations and all ages. However, it’s not just what the words say that is interesting, but what they don't say!
The words encourage action but they don't promise results. It is so easy to think that because we have been called to something we will be successful, and that if we are not successful it is likely that God has not called us.
I doubt whether the apostle Paul would have believed that calling was synonymous with success since he spent many years languishing in prison and facing all manner of hardships along the way. A well-used phrase that is very true is that we are called to be faithful, not successful.
We are all ministers. We may not think of ourselves in this way but we are all involved in doing something in response to the good news about Jesus. It might be a formal ministry in the church or as someone who simply tries to go about doing good to others.
Keep going, whether or not you see fruit, because your calling is to carry on regardless of whether or not you see the results of your ministry. One final thing to remember - Jesus is with you, always!
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The Revd John Ryeland, Director of The Christian Healing Mission
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