“and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.” Lk 9:2
Very often people relate missions to a select few, whom they think are specially gifted or spiritually equipped. While it is true that some people have specific calling to fulfil God’s purposes to further his Kingdom’s work, the calling to all God’s people in His Kingdom is to missions. “the field is wide unto harvest, and the labourers are few.” When Jesus spoke those words to his disciples, it was not addressed to one or two of them, it was to all of them present. It was a command to them to go and call people into God’s Kingdom. Therefore, missions should be a way of life for all Christ’s disciples; it is not optional, or for just a few persons. And we are all Christ’s disciples. And when each disciple of Christ sees it as his mission to be involved in the gospel of Christ then there will be widespread activities, there will be growth in His Kingdom. It is not a call for people to join the church, that we are so prone to say nowadays. The Kingdom call should be our emphasis.
Our efforts in proclaiming the gospel is to call people to repentance and to turn to God, and primarily to be His sons and daughters in His kingdom, and not be members of a church. And the emphasis on the Kingdom of God will consciously lead believers to relate primarily to God, and his will for their lives. When disciples of Christ are aware that being sons and daughters of the Most High God they are inheritors of God’s Kingdom, there will be conscious efforts to live up to that status. There will be a transformation of their worldview so that they seek to live Kingdom values, rather than earthly ones and which will cause them to rise above the things of this world.
In teaching about the Kingdom of God Jesus told a parable of the servants in a kingdom given talents, and they were commanded to put them to work. And the master’s expectation is of their absolute obedience. Missions means obedience. And when the Lord called, that obedience is not an option, the call is not a choice to be made, but like the master who gave talents to his servants, Christ expects his disciples to work with those talents that God has placed in them, and not have them kept wrapped up to be put away or used for their private goals. All the gifts and talents that God has given to His children are to be used for his Kingdom. In my case it was the gift of dealing in languages and words, of attuning my mind to etymology and the beauty of words in any language, and to the training of others in that area for the goal of providing God’s word to those who do not yet have it. That talent is to be used for God’s work and to His glory.
“People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God.” Lk 13:29
In the late 60s to the 90s there was a heightened interest in missions among us, and many Singaporeans left our shores for the lands beyond. Instead of remaining a mission field Singapore churches became missionary-sending congregations. Churches became alive and growth was witnessed, as Christ’s disciples became involved in the gospel to foreign lands. Groups were not inward looking anymore, but their vision was cast abroad into wider horizons. That inspired many young people to give of themselves, and they went out into many lands. That was not only a Singaporean phenomenon, but also an Asian wide one. It is when a church is totally committed to missions that it will grow in numbers and in spiritual depth.
Perhaps missions endeavour has reached a plateau in our churches. That fervency and urgency has somewhat wane, and there is now focus on peoples who come to our shores, so instead of going, they are coming. That is a golden opportunity for proclaiming the gospel to these peoples. But recently the words of one of our invited preachers rang an alarm. He said that we are losing a generation of young people, to whom the church is not relevant anymore. There is nothing challenging, for them to trust their lives in. Why? Perhaps the reason is that we do not provide a wider horizon for them and we do not reflect enough on the Kingdom of God, that we are inheritors of the Kingdom, and we will rule in the kingdom. That is a more powerful proposition to young people
That same call to proclaim the Kingdom of God needs to be repeated continually, so that every generation of Christ’s disciples could hear that call and be encouraged to respond. When that happens then missions and evangelistic efforts will not be confined to a few persons, but there will be a collective endeavour as each person plays his/her part in that work of proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ to the peoples here and in other lands.
Let us proclaim the full gospel of Jesus Christ, as he has proclaimed: ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ Lk 10:9