Nowhere in Scripture do we get a better view into what Jesus desires ministry to look like than in Luke 10 and Matthew 10. They are the chapters in which Jesus gives instructions to his disciples before he sends them out to be his hands and his feet in the world. And you don’t have to go very far in either passage before you run into a crucial word—Go! Jesus, from his very first words on the subject of ministry, wants us to make no mistake about the fact that ministry is something we must go to do. That is because this going is the very essence of the incarnation itself. It is what he did. God came to us, in our world, on our turf, in our form, speaking our language, to show us how deeply we are loved. Why then should we think that the ministry he calls each of us to would be any different? Ministry is always about going, and if we are not going then we are not doing ministry according to Jesus’ model. It is the essence of the life Jesus lived and the essence of the life he calls us to. He tells us to come first to him, and then go to others (Matthew 9:1-2).
“Do not make them come to you. Go to them! I am sending you out as lambs among wolves. Go! Walk your community, build relationships with those you come across, love them with my love, meet them where they are, care for their needs, and speak to them about my love and my Kingdom. Go! Proclaim in word and in deed the reality of my presence and my love. Go! Be an agent of peace, an agent of healing, and agent of wholeness. Go!”
We cannot just stay put and hope that somehow the lost and the broken will come to us. Rarely, if ever, will they do that. We must go to them; walking our own neighborhoods and communities, engaging people along the way, trying to get to really know them and love them, and being willing to be known in return. We must know their names and learn their stories. We must hear their struggles and share their pains. We must offer them the healing and the hope of the gospel. We must speak the message, “The kingdom of God has come near to you.” And we must flesh out that reality in our lives, because the Spirit of the King lives in each of us.
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