If you had known “then” what you would be doing “now” would you have made different choices? Would you have taken different courses in school? Would you have sought out different experiences or acquaintances? I am sure you have heard the old one-liner, “If I had known I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself.”
Ideally, we want all of our choices to have a positive impact on our future. Unfortunately, we can’t see tomorrow, so we are left to discern God will and prepare for future events based on the best available knowledge.
However, there are some things we know about the future. We know, if Jesus doesn’t return in our lifetimes, we will die, then pass into eternity. We also know God has already proclaimed victory over Satan and will hand him his final defeat at the end of time.
And there is one more thing we know…
We know the goal of a Jesus disciple (or kingdom person), is to make more disciples. This single priority changes everything!
It changes my motivation for studying the Word of God. It is possible to become a Bible study junky, traveling from one study to the next in search of a fix. Don’t misunderstand me. I am all for studying God’s Word. I love God’s Word. It is the lamp that lights my way as it reveals the expressed will of God. But if I have been left on earth to make more disciples and my study doesn’t seem to be helping me bring people to Jesus, I need a new topic. In fact, I need a new ultimate priority. If I put the mission of making disciples first, then I will seek out Biblical knowledge that helps me communicate God’s truth to the people God has brought into my life. I will avoid endless speculation on topics that are not clearly spelled out in God’s Word. I will also pay special attention to ways God’s Word draws non-believers to His heart, even as it guides me in the process of spiritual maturity.
It changes my motivation for building relationships with brothers and sisters in Christ. I don’t want to sit around with my Christian friends and enjoy our common bond in Jesus while the world goes to hell. I want to be a “comrade”, not a spiritual couch potato. If I am not always thinking about how the community of the church can attract someone to Jesus, I am missing the point of Acts 2:46-47 which reads, “Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. Relationships in the church should attract people to Jesus. The Lord wants us to love one another so the world will know what it means to be a disciple (John 13:35).
It changes my motivation for giving to the Lord’s work. Over the past few years my wife and I have shared sacrificial gifts to provide tools for ministry in the local church. If we had kept the money for the most recent endeavor in our home church, we could have paid for a brand new family vehicle. But we don’t miss the money or the car. We are too excited about the ministry tool we have been able to help provide and the people who will be drawn to Christ as a result of the collective gifts of our church family. Had we given for ourselves, our reward would have consisted of walking in a new building and looking for a way to use it to bring ourselves pleasure. But instead, we are able to dream about what God is going to do there and how He might use us to produce a spiritual harvest.
When we “Pray for One” we are putting the most important thing first. We are focusing on the reason Jesus has left us here instead of swooping us up into heaven to share with Him now. We want to mature in God’s Word so we can use it to bring people to Jesus, and reflect His character in everything. We want a strong church family that can provide a place where the hands and feet of Jesus can be seen by non-believers. And we want to share our resources to provide anything that might make it easier for people to find Jesus.
Praying for the one person God is going to send into our lives changes everything, including our hearts. And it restores our sense of mission. Disciples make disciples. Someone brought us to Jesus. Someone else needs us to do the same.