“Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father sent me, so I am sending you.’” John 20:21 CEB
One of the most unusual things about being a United Methodist Pastor is what is known as the Itinerant System. In this system the Ordained Elders in the church are appointed by Bishops to serve in churches. Also, in this system the Ordained Elders agree to itinerate, or move, whenever the Bishop believes they are more needed somewhere else. In other words, as an Ordained Elder in The United Methodist Church I agree to go wherever the Bishop sends me. Of course, I also believe that the Bishop is being led by the Holy Spirit to send those who are called to itinerate. This is true of some other lines of work as well. We all have friends in the military who are sent by their superiors to different locations as needed over the course of their career. For most, however, this is not something they are used to. In my understanding I believe there is something very special and unique about being sent.
Even if this is not the reality in your line of work—it is EVERY believers reality to be sent. You may never be asked to go to another location for work. If you are asked, you probably have the ability to say no. Inevitably, we all have the ability to say no through moving to another job, employer, career. This is true of our spiritual life as well. We are sent by God, through the leading of the Holy Spirit, to use our gifts, talents, and abilities to serve and make a difference. We can say no, but it usually does not turn out well at all—see Jonah. Whether we are asked to move in our work or not, we are all asked to move in our faith. We are called by Jesus to love God, love neighbor, and go. In the Scripture verse above from The Gospel of John Jesus says, “As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.” There are two very important realities for us to consider in this portion of Scripture.
First, God, the Father, sent Jesus, the Son. It is important to remember that Jesus was sent. God knew that humanity could not save itself. We were doomed in our sin and God loved us enough to make a way. The way that God made was to send Jesus—to offer God’s one and only Son as an atoning sacrifice for all of creation. God was willing to put it all on the line to save humanity. This is how much God loved us that while we were yet sinners God sent God’s only Son to die for us. God sent Jesus is the first reality to consider.
Second, Jesus, the Son, was sent by God, the Father. I know…this sounds super similar to the paragraph above. So, here’s the difference—God did the sending, but Jesus was the One who was sent. God made the decision to send His only Son to sacrifice His life for all of humanity. That was a huge sacrifice. But, Jesus had to agree to go. This is the decision/sacrifice that Jesus was called to make—see Philippians 2. Jesus had to say yes to be sent. Jesus knew the Father was calling him to leave the company of heaven and humble himself to become in human form as the Savior of the world. Jesus had to say yes to being sent. Jesus was sent is the second reality to ponder.
We serve a living God who both sends and is sent. God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit calls us to live out a life of being sent that was modeled so perfectly in the Trinity. Which leads me to ask, “Where is God calling you to go?” Where are you being sent? What are you being sent to do? Which all leads to the biggest question of all—Will you go? If you are sent, you must go! You are still sent if you do not go, but no fruit will be produced, you will wither on the vine and you will die—spiritually. This is why Jesus says, “I am sending you” and also “go, therefore, into all the nations…” We are sent AND we must go!
You are sent! Will you go? Will you go and make a difference?
This weekend at all four worship services we continue the message series Make A Difference. Saturday night we will have over 80 preschool families joining us at the Five14 worship service as their kids receive a Bible. I invite you to come and experience this incredibly powerful moment and service. Make A Difference is also the theme of our stewardship campaign as we prepare for our 2019 ministry needs. This weekend we will discuss how our passion meets the needs of others and God sends us to make a difference in that place. We also will have another terrific testimony on how God started a fire in one of our members and how the Holy Spirit has been moving in her life. I hope you will join us this weekend and every weekend. The best is yet to come for St. Andrew’s. I can’t wait to see you in church!