“Go and make disciples of all nations…” Matthew 28:18 These are the words of Jesus. The red ones. The important ones. Scripture refers to these words as “The Great Commission.” So often the great commission is read and interpreted as an opportunity to pack our bags and head to third world countries to introduce people to Jesus. “Go,” it says. “Make,” it says. Both verbs illicit visions of long distance travel and tribal encounters, where well-to-do white people save the world.
What if “Go” and “Make” are actually daily instructions for followers of Christ? What if the words have nothing to do with traveling and preaching and more to do with living and being? “Go,” Jesus said. What if I haven’t been called to pack a bag, but I’ve been asked to pack a lunch, provide a ride, visit a shut-in, or go to the hospital? What if “Go” means attending a wedding for someone with an alternative lifestyle, not because I’m comfortable, but because loving someone equates with showing up for them and showing up requires going? What if “Go” means sitting in an AA meeting not because I need to be there but because somebody I love wouldn’t be there if I weren’t sitting next to them? What if?
“Go,” Jesus said. Go to work. Go to the ballgame. Go to the neighbors. Go to the party. Go to the girls’ weekend. Go to church. Go to the funeral. Go to the court hearing. Go to the emergency room. Go to their living room. “Go.” Go when they are hurting. Go when they are celebrating. Go when others go. Go when nobody else goes. Go when there is something to do. Go when there is nothing to do. “Go,” Jesus instructs. To Go usually means I must leave somewhere or something behind. In the context of this scripture, maybe “Go” means leaving my own opinions, my own perspectives, my own agenda, and my own life long enough to acknowledge, see, and honor those of another person. Perhaps “Go” requires no bag be packed, but maybe some baggage be left behind. “Go,” Jesus said.
He also says, “Make.” To make anything requires a process. Steps. It has to start somewhere, this process of disciple making. Perhaps the easiest place to start is where the people already are. But that begs the question that magnifies the gap between where we humans are and where the disciple title is in relation to that. How do we “make” a disciple out of a drug addict? How do we “make” a disciple out of a murderer, an adulterer, an annoying neighbor, a gossipy mom, or a porn addicted dad? How do we “make” a disciple out of that fellow mom who annoys the heck out of us? How do we “make” a disciple out of a wealthy man who has met all of his own needs except for the one he doesn’t even believe he has? How do we “make” a disciple out of our child’s friend who is selfish, mean, and hateful? I would like to submit to you that perhaps we just start “making” and, in the making, disciples are the result.
“Making” other people’s hurts and dreams matter to me might be a significant step. “Making” a difference for others more than I’m making a living for myself might be a start. “Making” room at my table, in my home, or in my car to meet a need or so that someone doesn’t feel alone. Maybe we are just supposed to start making! Make a meal. Make a gift. Make a friend where there are no strings attached, no judgement, and no requirements. Make time to listen intently to another human heart. Make allowances for the fact that we were all created differently yet still each in His image. Make eye contact with a stranger or with a loved one as you remind them that they are special to you. Make a plan of how to serve people in your life well. Make a phone call. Make amends with those you’ve wounded. Make memories that matter with your kids. Make people feel honored, seen, and heard with every opportunity you have, every day you have them. “Make,” Jesus said.
Perhaps we have complicated this call to disciple making. Maybe it’s not difficult at all. He gave us two words. Both of which are completely attainable on a daily basis for most of us. “Go.” “Make.” Disciples are a result of the going and the making. Stop worrying about how you will bring up the name Jesus. Stop trying to make it look like church. Stop figuring out how you can call it ministry. Just “Go!” Just “Make!” Today! Then repeat tomorrow.