Over the past month or so we’ve been talking about how we are all ministers. I hope you’re convinced by now, that you – every one of you – is included in that call.
But – to do what? What is a minister’s purpose?
In today’s Scripture, Jesus explains that purpose. Just before he leaves them for the very last time, he says:
“It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:7-8).
Ministers witness to Jesus Christ. They know something about Jesus and tell others about it. They invite others to come and see for themselves. This call to be Jesus’ witnesses is mandatory, and it is huge in scope. There’s no corner of the world that God doesn’t care about. God wants everyone to know about the grace and forgiveness and new life made possible through Jesus Christ.
I don’t know about you – but that’s a completely overwhelming task. It feels out of my league – like someone saying, “Cook a five-course gourmet meal,” or, “Paint a ceiling like the Sistine Chapel.” Thankfully we don’t do this alone. Remember? We’re a part of the body of Christ. We are all required to be witnesses, but we are all witnesses together.
Today in church we got to hear from one group who takes this mandatory and huge commission seriously. A local representative of Gideons International came and shared with us about how that association places Bibles all around the world (if you’ve ever found a Bible in a hotel room dresser drawer, you’ve seen their handiwork). I think their kind of witnessing is beautiful in its humility – they send those Bibles out and leave them to be found, trusting that the Holy Spirit will inspire its words once again.
Supporting the Gideons is one way to participate in Jesus’ commission to witness to the whole world. Through those Bibles, that witness travels to Judea and Samaria and the edges of the earth.
But we are called to be witnesses also right here, where we are. We live in some edge of the earth (this feels especially true in beautiful-but-remote places like Andrews, NC!). We can witness, right here.
In order to witness, you don’t need to master Christian apologetics or know the Bible cover-to-cover. You simply need to have witnessed something – in this case, an experience of Jesus Christ. If Jesus has made a difference in your life, you can tell someone about it. That’s it.
The next step is figuring out who to witness to. Based on Acts 1:8, we might think, “Everyone!” Which is true – but in my experience, the Holy Spirit does some guiding. I don’t feel a pull to witness to a perfect stranger. I do feel a pull to witness to people I’ve gotten to know and love and trust.
Is there someone like that in your end of the earth?
Then go, and be a witness – tell them what you’ve seen Christ do.