When things get busy, we lose sight of what's important.
When victories are big, we lose sight of the end goal.
When struggles are overwhelming, we lose sight of the mission.
Which is why I was so encouraged by God's Word today from Acts 1:8.
"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."
This is the mission Jesus gave his church. And it is tremendously encouraging to see the components of it.
First, our power comes from the Holy Spirit.
We can't manufacture spiritual success, nor will good effort automatically launch a healthy church. Our effectiveness for the kingdom is not dependent on our giftedness, our strategies, or even our financial resources. We are effective if and when the Holy Spirit makes it happen. Our job is to pray and be available when He moves.
Secondly, our mission is to be witnesses.
When we hear the word "witness", we tend to think of telling our stories or of inviting people to church. When Jesus' initial audience heard Him speak, the word they heard was "martures", which does mean "witness", but it's also where we get the English word, martyr. They understood that Jesus was calling them to risk and to suffer for the sake of the kingdom. As Jesus taught in Mark 8, we need to deny ourselves for the sake of the Gospel, even if it costs us everything. Far too often, when the risk and cost become too great, we want to quit. We expect immediate results, whether numbers or money or events, and we get discouraged when those results don't happen. It's normal. But it's not the mission. The mission is to be martyrs, whether we see results or not.
Lastly, our calling is multiplication.
When Jesus lists the geography of the mission, he is explaining that it doesn't end in Jerusalem; it doesn't end with the twelve. They're job is to reach people who will reach people, who will bring the kingdom to the whole world. Our mission doesn't end with us finding a nice church where we feel comfortable. And the mission to reach the lost is not just for the Pastor or the church as a corporate entity. It's the mission of every individual Christian, and the church will be healthier as a result.
Acts 1:8 is a great reminder during busy and/or tough times that the Holy Spirit blesses our risks and self-denial to build his kingdom. And that as we stay true to that mission, God's will is accomplished, whether we see immediate results or not.