the privilege of being sent

The Privilege of Being Sent


There they sat in the upper room, confused, fearful and bewildered. Only hours removed from Jesus’ death on the cross, what were the disciples to do now? They were now the hunted ones and the storybook ending seemed to come to a fateful and unexpected end. Jesus was gone, and there they gathered… forlorn… attempting to configure a game plan to move forward.

Out of nowhere Jesus appears and gives them a hearty greeting. Peace be with you! Imagine the surprise and shock on their faces!! After showing them his hands and side their fear is turned into joy and the tattered group of followers is given the commissioning that will forever change the trajectory of their life.

Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”

With a lungful of air, Jesus breathes the power of the Holy Spirit upon them and the mission begins.

While the nation of Israel had primarily acted as a magnet drawing others to God, now the process had changed. The followers of Jesus were to spread out and reflect the love of the father to every nation, tribe and tongue. Jesus’s character and life would now bear witness through them and all who proclaim his name thereafter.

We often think of being “sent” as being commissioned to share the gospel of Jesus through the words we say and the prayers we pray. That it means changing passports or crossing cultural barriers. But what if the words and prayers were only a part of that sending decree? What if being sent included actions and attitudes, ethics and service? That words alone would be hollow if a life of genuine love did not accompany them. (1 Cor. 13:1) What if being sent also meant living as Christ lived, dying for self and embracing a love for others?

The life of Jesus is certainly characterized by life changing words and statements. The Red-letter phrases have forever changed the course of history, but so did his compassionate action and loving-kindness. It was his empathy, distress and care for those on the fringes that demonstrated and magnified the intensity of the red-letter phrases. Jesus’ whole life teaches us the beauty and privilege of being called people, sent in his name. [1]

Is being Sent an obligation or privilege?

Why is it that for most Christians (myself included) the idea of being Sent carries a feeling of obligation and duty? The task is accompanied by a sense of “going above and beyond” or being called to something that they “haven’t been gifted to do.” How easily we have allowed the fear and discomfort to drive our perception and motivation.

The truth is however, that being Sent is actually the complete opposite of obligation… it’s opportunity. Being Sent to love and serve others is actually a gift that has been given to all who call themselves followers of Christ. One of the great Christian privileges is to serve God with good works, which He performs through us as we allow Him to do so. This great honor is a result of God’s grace.

Not to mention that in our service and love we are changed! As it is stated in 1 John 4:12: “if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” (Read more here) Love completed in us? That sounds like sanctification if you ask me.

If our pursuit is to become more like Jesus, and we recognize that happens by emulating his character through loving our neighbor then why is being Sent seen as an obligation? It’s a privilege that boosts our greatest desire!

The fact that God has given his followers the power of the Holy Spirit in order that they may be his witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the ends of the earth is marvelous! Not only have Christ followers been given the Holy Spirit (That’s actually God in us…) but the chance to serve with and alongside God is more than amazing. To think that God would want me, a sinner, once called his enemy, to now serve alongside him in building his kingdom is a wonderful privilege!

Moving from privilege to reality

Probably one of the most difficult tasks is taking the first steps. We all need a little help when it comes to stepping out of our comfort zone. The good thing is it doesn’t have to be complicated, strategically planned or confrontational. Loving others is simply being yourself with a little bit of selflessness and lots of love mixed in. Our heart is to encourage you in this process. We have written and developed a simple 5-week small group study that equips you and your group to love the vulnerable in your city. It’s practical, engaging and available for your group to utilize as a small group resource. You can find the free downloadable link here.

Be encouraged! You have been Sent and God is ready to build the kingdom in you and through you as you go!

[1] Excerpt from the SENT small group study

 

About John

John Warden, our Director of Mission Initiatives, provides oversight and training for the TCT - Local program. John has had the opportunity to work with Christians around the world in elements of worldview, poverty, outreach and wholistic ministry. Join us in this initiative to reach and love the world around us for God’s glory.

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