Summary: What keeps us from fulfilling Jesus’ "So send I you" mandate? Lack of information? There is the Bible. Motivation? Forgiveness is critical for all. No personal experience with Christ? Now is the time for a fresh encounter. Montgomery Hills Baptist
Some of us live in a state of perpetual unreadiness. No matter what happens, we think we are not ready. Notice how I put that. We THINK we are not ready. We may have plenty of stuff in our old kit bags. We may have assembled all that we need to accomplish whatever we are about to do, but the issue is that we think we are not ready. And if you think you are not ready, you will live in a state of perpetual unreadiness and will never, never do a thing.
Occasionally my daughter asks me to do some handyman projects. Her husband works long hours, and, besides, after they had by their own hands built an addition to their house, he gave away his tools and said he was never doing that again! So it falls to me to be the occasional handyman. Now since he did in fact give away most of their tools, keeping only a sorry excuse for a screwdriver and a pitiful little hammer that would not drive so much as a carpet tack, I have to think about what I need to take with me. Hammer, screwdrivers, pliers, of course. Maybe a saw; maybe a drill. Oh, and I’ll need an assortment of nails and screws, washers and nuts. What else? Probably should take a level. And a plumb-bob. Oh, and a shovel, and a trowel, and …! Every time I take another armload to my car, I think of something else I might need. By the time I’ve loaded up everything you can imagine, and have wondered if there is something more I haven’t thought of, I am too tired to do the work! I’ve lost the will to work! I am stuck in a state of perpetual unreadiness, because I think I’m not ready.
But the truth is that I am ready. All it takes is for me to head down the road and go to her house and start. The truth is I am equipped for the task; what more could I possibly need, when I have plenty of tools and ample material and years of experience? What more could I ask? I just need to do it.
That first Easter must have been both exhilarating and confusing for the disciples. They were living in unprecedented times. No one had ever experienced anything like this: their master arrested, insulted, tortured, and crucified. Then their master dead and buried, and now alive again. Just what were they supposed to do with that? How were they supposed to react? They knew there had to be more than huddling in a house behind closed doors, but what? They locked the door against the world, awed and afraid and anxious. What was next? They didn’t know.
When the risen Lord appeared among them, the answer became clear. There was no uncertainty about their mission now. Jesus announced, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so send I you.” The words of Jesus to those who had gathered in that house are about mission, about doing what He had done. This is roughly John’s equivalent of the Great Commission. “So send I you.” Go do what I have done. Thus we understand that we, like those first disciples, are commissioned to go and teach and share the good news. The mandate is clear. The orders are crisp. The expectations are sharp. “So send I you.”
Then why isn’t it happening? What is holding us back from our mission and contradicting our mandate? When I read that the number of Americans who consider themselves Christian is declining, I wonder what has happened. When I learn that the percentage of people who stipulate that they have no religion at all is growing, I wonder what happened to the sharing of the Gospel. When I go to churches to preach or encounter pastors in my work, and discover that many of our churches have declined and some have almost disappeared, I wonder how that can be? How can it be that we are failing to share the Gospel with the next generation? What is going on that keeps us from a confident and convincing proclamation of the Good News?
Can it be that we are paralysed in a state of perpetual unreadiness? Can it be that our problem is that we think we are not ready? Can it be that we are stuck in supposing that we do not have the tools for our task? But I believe that we are more ready than we give ourselves credit for. What more can you ask than what you have already? What’s the issue?
Is the problem that we do not have enough information? Is it that we do not have enough knowledge? Might it be that we do not share our faith because we do not understand that faith? Is it a knowledge problem that paralyses us in a state of perpetual unreadiness? Do we just not know enough?