Would you do it for a Friend?

Would you do it for a Friend?

We Christians know the Great Commission. We know Jesus commanded his disciples to reach the ends of the earth and make disciples of all the nations. And if we’re not kidding ourselves, we know that command was for our generation, just as it was for theirs.

So why is there an epidemic of complacency among Christians today?

The question is, of course rhetorical. We live in an era where the idols of comfort and entertainment rule.¬†Facing the dangers and hardships of missions seems less appealing than ever to Christians, and so we excuse ourselves by believing that lie that missions are for someone else. Rather than concern ourselves with the gravity of the subject, we write it off, saying that the work is for some supersaint who has a “gift” for it (I know; I’ve been there). For those of us caught up in the business of our own lives, the Great Commission as a command sounds burdensome. That’s why I offer an alternative perspective.

In John 15:12, Jesus told his disciples, “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his mater is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.” In saying this, Jesus changed the nature of the relationship between God and man. Despite Christ’s superiority, despite His complete entitlement to the term “Master”, He did not want his disciples to obey Him on the basis of authority alone. He wanted to establish a partnership, one in which He and His disciples could work together to achieve God’s ultimate plan. He called His disciples friends. The ramifications of that declaration are staggering, because the closeness implicit in the term “friendship” was something few had ever experienced with God up to that point. Here, Jesus offered it freely.

That, to me, sheds new light on what Jesus prayed two chapters later in John 17:20-24, “I do not ask for the world these only, but for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one … so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. Father, I desire that they also whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.”¬†

Before his crucifixion, Jesus prayed to the Father, baring his heart and letting his desires be known. Other scriptural evidence leads me to believe that Jesus was also aware that His words would be written down for future generations, which means that when Jesus bared His heart to the Father, He was baring it to us as well. He revealed his heart’s desire to us whom he calls his friends that we would know and share in His longing. That longing is for all who would believe to be brought into relationship with Him.

One of the factors that separates Christianity from the world’s religions is the relationship God has established with us. We do not earn salvation by obeying rules; we are gifted salvation through belief and faith, and the relationship established through God’s love motivates us to want to do His will. In the same way, we do not obey His command to reach the world because we must, but because it is something He greatly desires, and as His friends, should we not desire it too?

If your best friend said to you, “I’ve known you for so long, but I’ve never met your parents; I would really love to meet them,” would you not introduce them? How much more should we want to do this for our Savior? Missions aren’t just about following orders; they’re about pursuing the very heart of God. The more we understand God’s heart the better we know Him the more we will want to partner with Him to fulfill His deepest desires. That partnership comes in many different forms: for some, it means becoming a missionary to an unreached people group; for others, it means committing to support and prayer. No matter how busy we are or where we find ourselves in life, we can always be on mission with God.

Maybe you’re too busy to embrace obedience to a command you aren’t sure is for you. But would you do it for a friend?

-Tyler Huggins, 1520 Unreached