At 19 years old, the Army deployed me and I stood in formation when my Battalion Commander informed us all we were expendable. He let us know he could submit a piece of paper to replace us should anything happen. We were not vital to the mission. The mission came first. He made sure we knew that, even if he communicated it horribly. Way to encourage the troops right? I’ll be honest, I thought this was awful for a number of years and then I started really reading the Bible.
See you may be like me and grew up with someone telling you that you are important. I grew up with participation trophies, awards, and certificates. Life hit me when I was 19 and I was deemed expendable. I realized I was not important. I could be replaced. I was not vital to the mission, this is the case in the Army and in living for Jesus.
When I left to be deployed, I left a job as a youth pastor with a growing youth group. I left Bible college. I left my country. I left everything familiar to live in a tent in the desert. Somehow I thought I was vital to those things continuing. I was not. The youth group grew, college continued, the US still had Chick-Fil-A. I learned this when I came back home and learned that life went on without me. It is the same when in the Christian life and in Jesus’ mission.
His mission will go one with or without me. Jesus says, “This gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14). The gospel will be proclaimed. It is sure. As sure as Jesus is Lord, this gospel will be proclaimed to all the nations. This is true, whether you are involved or not. There is not a qualifier in there. The gospel will be proclaimed whether you participate or not. It’s your call, do you want to be on the winning team? I like to win. I like to do this with a high success rate. If you do too, preach the gospel!
The sureness of this gospel proclamation is then foreseen in Revelation. As an aside, isn’t it great to have the book of Revelation in the Bible? We have the end of the book! We know how ti all ends. Ok, return to Revelation, in the end John sees a vision, “After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands,and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” (Revelation 7:9–10)
Every tribe, tongue, and nation will praise God. Each people group will have people at the throne of God worshiping Him. If you are contemplating missions or maybe just sharing the gospel with your coworker, DO IT! Success is guaranteed not because of you but because of Jesus. People will come to know the Lord from every tribe, tongue, and nation so go, share, and enjoy sure success because Jesus has guaranteed it. He then gives us a glimpse into the throne room where we see the fruit of our current labors.
How can we be sure of such success? We can be sure because Jesus defeated our greatest enemy, sin and death. The two are linked, death is the final statement of sin. Sin came into the world and brought death with it (Gen 3). But Jesus did something marvelous. He did it because He alone is vital to the mission. He left his home (heaven) and came to hostile territory (earth). He lived perfectly fulfilling God’s requirements, died in our place and paid our debt owed to God, and rose again showing that sin’s final statement was not enough for Him. He now waits for all these things to be fulfilled. “But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet.For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified” (Hebrews 10:12–14).
Success is not immediate. This is tough because I grew up eating microwave popcorn and McDonald’s. Fast food, microwaves, and other ready made things impact my Christianity. I want things now, though I would really prefer to have them yesterday. Hebrews continues to teach us in Heb 11 that many saints who came before us lived faithfully yet never saw their reward. They worked in God’s plan yet never saw the success and neither did Jesus. Jesus died alone on the cross with one disciple and a couple of women looking on as He breathed his last breath. If we measure things by numbers, Jesus was a failure. But when we measure success by faithfulness, He redefines success for us. I say this because it is possible you go to share the gospel and no one responds. You go on a mission trip and it isn’t what you thought. Was it successful? Was it worth it? If you answer this by the number of responses, then you have missed the point. When you are faithful God will use the things you did to complete His mission. His mission is guaranteed so be faithful to walk with Him.