In Steven Covey’s classic book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” we are all encouraged to think of the goal before even planning the start. I believe this is a principle that applies across fields and even God followed this principle when mapping out his plan for mankind. I believe that God began with the end in mind when he created Adam and Eve and gave them the commandment to subdue the earth. What was the end? The Great Commission. Maybe it could also be that these two commandments are actually the same thing.
Let’s break down the Great Commission. This is made up of the words “Co” and “Mission” meaning that it is a mission that more than one person participates in. WE are part of the mission that Jesus was on. WE are coworkers with him on his mission to set the world right. This mission is something God put into motion all the way back in Genesis.
There are two sections in the Bible that highlight our role in this whole process. The first is the parable of the talents from Matthew 25:14-30.
14 “For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. 15 To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16 He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. 17 So also, he who had the two talents made two talents more. 18 But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money.19 Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them.”
This is where it gets bad for the person who did nothing with the talent that the master entrusted him with. He is eventually cast out. The person who does well with the talents that the master gave gets more talents.
The second selection is the Great Commission as found in Acts 1:8 and is as follows: “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
There is a little progression here in the Great Commission. Start small where you have influence and work your way out. Economists call this the Matthew effect, based on, of all things, the parable of the talents. The idea here is that as someone makes good decisions or experiences success those things will happen more and more frequently.
Milton Friedman is famous for saying “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.” This is because as you use what you have you gain more of it, but as you do not use it, “even what you do have will be taken away” <Jesus
What does this mean to me?
God has given us all a job to do, or in legal terms, we have a duty. In the law, duties are assigned based on our relationship to other people. Let me ask you all a question. If someone is drowning, do you have a duty to save them? The answer is “no,” but what if you are their parent or the person who caused them to be in danger? We see that a person’s duty is determined by their position. Who do we as Christians have a duty to? The unsaved world!
With each duty there is a corresponding right that the person protected by that duty has. The world talks about wanting rights for things like healthcare, basic income and the like.
Most people think that these rights are things that the government has the duty to give them but this is not correct. The real right that the world has is to hear the gospel. And…you guessed it, it is our duty to tell it to them.
Each of us has to sort out what exactly that looks like in our own lives in that God has given us all different talents and abilities. One thing is clear though, that God expects us to increase the talent that he has given us.
When God chose Mary and Joseph so many years ago he did so because he knew and trusted that they would do well at nurturing his amazing gift to the world – JESUS. Each of us has been given gifts that the world needs in order to further His kingdom. This includes both spiritual and secular gifts. Now is the perfect season for each of us to examine our own lives. What gift to the world has God entrusted each of us with? Identify it and nurture it because if you do not, expect it to be gone.