Loving God's Calling (2)

As you are going, there's work to do.

Loving God (11)

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…”
Matthew 28.19

We, however, will not boast beyond measure, but within the limits of the sphere which God appointed us—a sphere which especially includes you. 2 Corinthians 10.13

Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ. 1 Corinthians 11.1

Called to God’s Kingdom and glory
The love which believers have toward God engages every aspect of their lives – heart, mind, conscience, words, and deeds – in expressions of adoration, gratitude, and glad obedience to His will. God has called us to His Kingdom and glory (1 Thess. 2.12), where righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit are the hallmarks of our experience. We love God by loving His Presence, Word, salvation, works, creation, and soon appearing – all of which we enjoy and increase in as we seek and advance His Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.

By our works we glorify God and further His Kingdom – works of worship, service, witness, and growth in the grace and knowledge of our Lord. The more we work – not to be saved but because we are saved – the more our joy in the Lord increases, because He engages us with His Word and Spirit, transforming us into the image of Jesus Christ and drawing us more fully into the glorious gladness of our Savior (Heb. 1.8, 9). The more our gladness in the Lord increases, the more we love Him; and the more we seek to express our love for Him in all the ways He has appointed unto us.

We do not have to go far to fulfill this calling. Indeed, we only need to look around us every day, right where we are, whatever we’re doing, whomever we’re with; and there and then we may glorify God and seek His rule of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Spirit, in even the smallest, most everyday activities of our lives (1 Cor. 10.31).

It’s the “of our lives” aspect that needs more attention for most of us. For we are called to the Kingdom and glory of God not merely when we are in church, or not just as we are involved in some program of service or growth, or should we happen to go to some distant land for the sake of the Gospel. We are called to the Kingdom and glory of God in every part and sector and activity and role and relationship “of our lives”; and it is here, as we take up our calling each day, that we demonstrate our love for God Who has called us.

Watch where you’re going!
We’ve all been given this admonition at one time or another, and in various ways: “Pay attention to what you’re doing!” “Watch out there!” “Take care.” “Keep your eyes on the road!” “Watch where you’re going!”

It’s a familiar admonition, and it’s very important that we do watch where we’re going. Because as we’re going wherever we’re going, we have work to do.

English translations of the Great Commission (Matt. 28.18-20) routinely fail to capture the sense of the word typically translated, “Go”. In the Greek, this is not a verb – so it doesn’t indicate action. It is a participle, and the function of the participle is to describe. It should be translated “As you are going…” The work we have to do as we are going is to “make disciples”. Making disciples is the work we do to love our neighbors as ourselves, as we shall see in upcoming installments. But we will only take up the work of making disciples if we love Him enough Who commands us to take up this work. When we love Jesus, and as we are growing in love for Him, making disciples will be the most natural thing for us to do, because loving Him, we will become like Him, and making disciples is what He spent His earthly sojourn doing.

And it’s what He has sent us to do as well (Jn. 20.21). So it’s a good idea that we watch where we’re going, wherever we’re going, and whenever we’re going where we’re going, so that we make the most of every opportunity for making disciples (Eph. 5.15-17).

Your calling, your sphere
In the Kingdom and for the glory of God, they who love God with all their soul and strength mirror His mission to the world by devoting themselves to the work of making disciples.

Paul said we are to imitate him and Jesus as we work to fulfill our calling. Jesus was sent to a particular time, place, and people for the work of proclaiming the Kingdom and making disciples. In 2 Corinthians 10.13, Paul said as much about himself. He understood that, within the Kingdom and for the glory of God, he had been assigned a sphere that took in certain places and people and everything that had to do with making disciples within that sphere.

We each also have a sphere, which we will refer to as our Personal Mission Field. It is Personal because each of us has a unique calling, to unique places and persons, times and situations. No two believers have the same Personal Mission Field, although our mission fields frequently overlap and interact. Our Lord Jesus Christ has sent you personally to a portion of His field where, as you are going, your work is to make disciples.

This sphere is a Mission because we have been sent there by Jesus Himself: “As the Father has sent Me, I also send you” (Jn. 20.21). Missionaries are those who are sent to a specific people for a specific time to accomplish a specific work. Every believer is sent by Jesus to a sphere in His Kingdom, a sphere replete with people, culture, and opportunities to glorify God. This sphere, or field, is where we carry out our mission to make disciples as we are going. And it is in carrying out that mission that we express love for God and reach out to our neighbors with His love, to love them as we love ourselves.

Our sphere is a Field because it is part of the larger field of the world, which is the Kingdom of God (Matt. 13.36-43). In that field we have work to do, all of which falls under the rubric of making disciples. As we go into our field every day, we go like Jesus, to demonstrate, proclaim, and bring near the reality of His rule of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Spirit, with the intent of encouraging and leading others to lay hold on that Kingdom, and enter the joy of the Lord. Not everyone will, of course, and making sure any of them do is not our calling. Our calling, as we are going, is do those works of love that make disciples. Making people disciples is what Jesus does; but when He does it, He does it through people like you and me.

If we love God, we will embrace our calling from Him, work to understand it fully, prepare ourselves to fulfill it diligently, and go about our work, as we are going, to make disciples of all the nations.

For reflection
1.  How would you explain to someone else what your Personal Mission Field is?

2.  How are we imitating Paul and Jesus when we embrace the calling to our Personal Mission Field?

3.  “Making disciples” defines our posture toward the people around us. Does this mean everyone is going to become a follower of Christ? Explain.

Next steps – Transformation: If you’ve not done this recently or before, watch this brief video on Personal Mission Field. Download the worksheet, map out your Personal Mission Field, and commit the work of this mission to the Lord.

T. M. Moore

We are called to bring the joy of the Lord to the world. This is part and parcel of our work of making disciples. Our booklet, Joy to Your World!, can help you get started in working your Personal Mission Field. Order your copy by clicking here.

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore