God is a sending God. God’s original command to humanity was to multiply and fill the earth. From the very beginning God was sending image bearers to the farthest reaches of the earth, to represent God in those places. God was filling the earth through God’s image bearers. The Bible is full of examples of God sending individuals and communities to join God’s mission to the world. Even we today have been sent to proclaim the Kingdom of God is near. Part of joining the mission of God, however, is not just understanding we are sent, but is learning to trust.
I am a person who likes to be prepared. I’ve never been the kind of person who just wakes up and says “let’s go on a trip,” and then jumps in the car and goes. I like to be organized. I like to plan things out. Figure out where I’m going and what I’ll need before I head out. Because of that, I get uncomfortable when I hear Jesus tell the seventy in Luke 10, as you go, “take no purse, no bag, no sandals.” I’m not saying Jesus is irresponsible, it’s just not the typical way we tell people to be wise.
In some ways Jesus is saying, following me requires trust. Your security, what will keep you safe on the journey, what will allow you to succeed, is not based on your talents, your possessions, or your preparation. Your security comes from knowing God is with you. Talent and preparations are important, but not as important as God’s presence with you on the journey.
One of the things about recognizing you are sent is realizing that the job is always too big for you on your own, you have to trust God. God doesn’t send us to accomplish tasks we can do on our own. If we find ourselves with tasks that are manageable for us, then we have settled. God sends us to do things that are too big for us, and then God asks us to trust God to accomplish them with us, through us, and for us.
Consider the example of Moses. God calls Moses at the burning bush to head back to Egypt and tell Pharaoh to “let my people go.” Moses is eighty years old. He’s been tending sheep for the last forty years. There was a time when he could survive in the courts of Pharaoh, but that was a long time ago. Moses is afraid, he’s worried that the job is too big for him, so he starts making excuses, and they are good excuses. Moses has been gone for forty years. When he was there he wasn’t making bricks but instead living in Pharaoh’s house. Why would the Israelites believe him? Why would they follow him? But God won’t accept the excuses. Trust me, God says, I’m sending you back, I’ll be with you.
Matthew ends his gospel account with the great commission, one final charge to the disciples. Go into all the world and make disciples, and remember, I’m with you always, to the end of the age. Jesus was leaving, he would not physically be with the disciples any more on earth. Yet he says, just because you can’t see me or touch me doesn’t mean I’m not with you. Trust me, I’ll be with you. I’m more real than anything you see around you.
It’s hard to trust because there is so much about trusting that can’t be plotted on a graph or discerned from a spreadsheet. Yet being sent requires trust.
There are times when we are sent into places we don’t want to go. It’s scary and we often feel uncomfortable. We know we are not prepared or we fear we don’t have the right abilities and there’s no way we can accomplish the task. But God will not send us to do a task in which God is not already prepared to go with us, and lead us, until the task is accomplished.
God is calling you. God is sending you. To get out of your comfort zone and to be on mission; to reach out to people where you work, where you live, and where you play. God is sending you to proclaim the Kingdom of God has come near. You’re going to feel inadequate. It’s alright, we all feel inadequate. But God is sending you, so trust God. And join God on mission.