Daily Devotional – January 1
Written by: Raymond McKaskle
Scripture: Matthew 28:16-20, The Great Commission
I consider it a great honor to be asked to write a devotion for the first day of the new year.
After giving this some thought as to what would be appropriate to begin the new year, I began to wonder what it is that Jesus wants us to do in the coming year and how we are to live our lives. At First Methodist Houston, we have adopted the phrase “Following Jesus and asking others to come along” as our slogan. What better scripture is there to start the new year than Matthew 28:16-20?!! This scripture is often referred to as “the great commission.”
This Bible verse is well known, but not always well followed. So, let’s say that we, like the eleven, have been commissioned to “go and make disciples.” Well, that’s kind of a non-starter for many of us, because of the word go. Are we being asked to drop everything and go make disciples? Where are we supposed to “go” and what are we supposed to say or do? Most of us aren’t going to go to some other country (Jesus did say “all nations”) or even to some other city; and because we aren’t going somewhere, we think the rest of the commission simply falls by the wayside.
But what if Jesus had said it this way: “Go about your daily activities, whether it is work or play, and make disciples in all the nations.” So, you can go to work, go fishing or golfing or tennis or whatever you do and make disciples. “Go (fill in the blank) and make disciples.” In fact, that is what Jesus said. Let’s take a look at another way to translate this.
When we read this verse in English and think about it in English, we understand the word go as a finite imperative, but the verb form used for the word go in Greek is not a finite imperative but a participle. I apologize for the grammar lesson here, but hear me out. It works. A fair translation from Greek would be, “As you are going, therefore, make disciples.” My sports passion is golf so, naturally, being a golfer, I like to translate that into: ”As you are golfing therefore, make disciples.”
I’m not saying we shouldn’t “go,” because I believe Jesus is saying we should. We should go to other countries, to other cultures and even to other golf clubs. Wherever we go, as we are going, we must make disciples, because that verb is a finite imperative. When I go to the golf course, it is in my mind to make disciples of the people with whom I play golf. Most of the guys I play with on a regular basis usually play on Saturday and Sunday mornings, but they all know that I reserve Sunday mornings for worship. I do not go golfing on Sunday to make disciples; that is the day that I go “churching” to get my batteries recharged. Following the “go” part of the great commission can actually be pretty simple. Just go on about your daily activities and make disciples of the people with whom you come into contact. Go with confidence and know that God is with you every step of the way, and that He is pleased when you mention His name during your daily activities.
So, remember, as members of First Methodist Houston, “we are following Jesus and asking others to come along” as we go about our daily activities.
Prayer: Father as we say good-bye to a year that was more than a little troublesome, we prepare to enter a new year knowing that you were with us then; You are with us now and will be forever. Your presence in our lives and love for us are the only things that never change. Help us to remember that every day and that as Christians, our commission is “as we go”, we are to make disciples and help to grow your kingdom here on earth. Amen!