Summary: The British navy made an attack on a small Spanish fishing village...by mistake. Why? Because they had the wrong directions...what are God's directions for your life?
On February 19, 2002, the British navy gathered up their historic forces and set off to practice a daring amphibious invasion. I hear from my friends who serve in the armed forces that tactical practices take place routinely so that commanders know what to expect when the unexpected happens. Though a large scale attack from the sea has rarely occurred in recent history, on this day, the United Kingdom felt landing in their territory at the in the strait of Gibraltar would be good preparation for the real thing if ever necessary.
So the HMS Ocean landed during low tide, soldiers raced through the sands, and the ambush was a success--minus one drastic problem. Instead of taking over “the Rock,” the British colony located known as Gibraltar, because of logistical errors, they actually landed in mainland Spain. You read that correct, in late February in 2002, Britain attacked Spain…on accident.
After the local police department notified the commanders of the British Navy that they had not only missed their mark, but had instead taken over a small Spanish fishing village, the Navy apologized, conversed awhile with the locals, then got back on their boat and returned home. Officials later made the press release stating, “clearly that is the end of the matter but obviously it is a situation we would rather not have taken place.” Sometimes I think the British Navy got lucky, what would have happened in some corners of Bronx could have been a different situation entirely, but that’s a different story.
So why did it happen? Why the sudden cause of alarm? How could an error so drastic and so potentially fatal be made by people who can calculate a guided missile to the tenth of a foot from over a continent away? The answer is more simple than complex. The soldiers simply received the wrong directions.
In the Bible, Jesus gave us some pretty specific directions. Knowing the frustration that the human being feels when a person is given a target to find or a mission to accomplish but is off task because the directions provided led them astray, Jesus in some of his last words wished to thwart that frustration and gave us some specific instructions.
In what is historically called the Great Commission, or the Cause, Jesus states in Matthew 28 that we are to “Go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Friends, I suggest that we take these directions literal and act on them specifically. The affect of making disciples requires us to first go to where the future disciples are, then baptizing them following their commitment, and finally teaching them to obey the commands (something that tends to be forgotten in this current age where it seems of no consequence for someone called a Christian to believe in something contrary to scripture). And that clear mission, like an attack into Spain, can royally be messed up if we are of by just a bit. So please…will you go, make, baptize, and teach? If we don’t, we may end up fishing with some locals which could be fine…but is not what God has directed us to do.