You Have Not Been Disqualified from the Great Commission
Over the last couple of weeks, gathered in the living room, our family has watched some of the best athletes in the world compete for gold, silver, and bronze medals. Swimming, gymnastics, and track and field were among our favorites.
One night we watched as a runner left just milliseconds before the starting gun sounded. The look of disappointment and frustration on his face was painful to watch. In the biggest race of his life, he had been disqualified.
As Christians, we too are running a race. Just before his ascension, Jesus stood at the starting line and spoke the word go.
The great commission—Christ’s command to go and preach the gospel—a familiar verse, a cornerstone of many churches, a life verse for missionaries. Much attention is given to these final words of Jesus, but so very little to the words that come before them.
Just before Jesus told his disciples to go out into the entire world and share the good news of the gospel, he rebuked them. He expressed his disapproval. He criticized them. Why? Because of “their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen” (Mark 16:14b).
Reading this verse, I can almost see the disappointment and frustration on the disciples’ faces. In one of the biggest moments of their lives with the risen Lord standing before them, it seems as if they had been disqualified. With such a mistake behind them, surely, Jesus would be done with them, they’d be asked to leave the race.
But that’s not what Jesus did.
He rebuked them and then he SENT them. Their lack of faith didn’t disqualify them from serving God. Their stubborn refusal to believe what they hadn’t yet seen didn’t exclude them from being used by God.
Friends, neither does your lack of faith, struggles, or imperfect story disqualify you.
The disciples, who literally heard Jesus teach and knew him in a personal way, also fought doubt and disbelief. And yet, they were not disqualified from the great commission. In fact, just moments after their mistake, they were instructed to go and to preach.
The same is true for me and you. No matter what yesterday held. No matter the mistakes we have made. No matter what happened just moments before the starting gun sounded. We have not been disqualified!
God still can and wants to use us. Our race is not over, the track has been laid out before us, designed by God.
So . . . go.
Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.