Q: How do I know if what I’m spending my time and energy on is worthwhile, or what I should be doing with my life?
A: I know that what I’m doing is worthwhile if I’m fulfilling the Great Commission.
So, my commentary on the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20), presented oddly enough in the form of an essay outline:
Jesus said: “All authority in Heaven and on Earth has been given to me. And so go, and:
I “Make disciples of all nations,
A. “Baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit”
1. Accurate, complete, humane, loving, and generally non-creepy communication of the Gospel– who God is, how He loves, who we are, the reality of sin and its consequences, the plan that the Trinity made among themselves to rescue us from our slavery, the cost that Jesus paid, the invitation that we’re being offered, the love and joy that are behind that invitation and that God wants passionately to lavish on us when we accept.
2. Actually baptizing: when people say yes to God, carrying out this ritual that He’s chosen as His way of bringing them into the new life. However sacramentally-or-not that works.
3. Helping people and allowing yourself to be helped through all the various layers, lessons, adventures and field trips of sanctification, and learning to give and receive love, and learning that obedience is not a dirty word and that holiness actually is our only hope for wholeness, or living in real and triumphant and joyful integrity before God and other people.
4. Learning and helping others learn about the Bible, asking questions about theology, and finding out more about what reality is like.
B. “and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you,”
1. Again, loving each other.
2. Living in the world as a human being should, including making and building and investigating and studying and growing zucchini and enjoying and being friends.
3. Investing your time and money and emotional energy in other peoples’ good, both friends and enemies (which does not mean becoming tapped-out or codependent– the way to avoid this is by remaining connected to Jesus, abiding in Him, and being part of His community/body, ie the Church, and taking naps when you need to).
4. Gathering together as His body to share Communion, to worship Him, to support each other.
5. Working for larger-scale social justice stuff.
6. And let’s just throw in loving each other again.
III “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
A. Which is the only way any of this is possible, or even makes sense. Christianity without Jesus as the One who loves you every minute, and loves the people you encounter every day, including the ones you really don’t, and creates the changes in you that you need to grow in love and health and patience and joy, and is really in the final analysis the one who “does in you” all the good that you do, and gives to you all the good things that you have– Christianity without Jesus is just an exhausting self-help or public works project, an unfunded mandate. You don’t got enough juice in you to make that work, bubba. Abide in Him. Pray– not as a thing to do on your list of Good Things to Do, but as in, leaning on Him, thanking Him, asking for help, resting in Him. And He will abide in you.
Q: Did I cover all the main points? Am I missing anything that should be here? Am I reading this right? If the cat licked my iced coffee straw, can I still use it? (well, I did, so no reply necessary on that last one.)