THE SERVANT GENERAL
EVANGELIZATION AND MISSION
Yesterday we saw that the proper response to Jesus’
call to discipleship is for us to renounce all. Why? Paul
expounds on the meaning of being a disciple of Jesus. And
what is that? We belong totally to God, and everything that
we are and do is only for Jesus. “None of us lives for
oneself, and no one dies for oneself. For if we live, we live
for the Lord, and if we die, we die for the Lord; so then,
whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.” (Rom
14:7-8). Our lives are not our own. We have life because of
God. And we will have eternal life because of God. Both here
and in the hereafter, we are defined only by our connection
with God. “For this is why Christ died and came to life,
that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.”
Our mistake is when we live apart from God, or when we try
to live with God in the picture, but only as part of our life
rather than as our whole life. How tragic it would be if we
thought we lived a pleasant life on earth, only to spend eternity
unpleasantly outside of heaven. If God defines our life, then
it is also God who decides how we are to spend eternity, after
weighing how we spent our time on earth. “For we shall
all stand before the judgment seat of God” (Rom 14:10b).
When we stand before God, “each of us shall give an
account of himself to God.” (Rom 14:12). What shall
we say then? That we did not give Him our all? That we did
not truly strive for holiness and Christian perfection? That
we failed to proclaim Christ and his salvation?
since it is Jesus who defines discipleship, and it is God
who judges how we have lived our lives, we cannot, while still
on earth, do the same for our brethren. “Why then do
you judge your brother? Or you, why do you look down on your
brother?” (Rom 14:10a). The Pharisee thinks he is so
great as he judges and disdains the publican, but Jesus overturns
such judgment. Those who do mighty deeds in Jesus’ name
think they merit entry into the Kingdom, only to be turned
away by Jesus, who does not know them.
Why is it important not to judge or look down on our brethren?
Well, not only because they have dignity as children of God,
but also because we need to be united to build community for
the work of evangelization. There will always be something
to criticize in others. But two things we need to bear in
mind. One, we need to be careful, because we judge with human
minds while God judges in a different way, and we certainly
do not fully have the mind of God. Two, we need to work together,
because the all-important work of evangelization requires
many workers, who will fight the one enemy, and refrain from
fighting each other. We go all out for the cause of Christ,
and should not expend our efforts putting each other down.
Consider the work that we are all called to do, as disciples
of Jesus, who should share Christ. We are to participate in
the work of finding and bringing back the lost sheep. This
work is so important that Jesus says, “I tell you, in
just the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one
sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people
who have no need of repentance.” (Lk 15:7). Heaven rejoices,
because there will be more guests for the great feast. “In
just the same way, I tell you, there will be rejoicing among
the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Lk
15:10). Even the angels are cheering us on!
But here is the sobering reality. It is not that there is
one sinner and 99 who have no need of repentance. It is the
other way around! Of all Christians, not counting pagans,
only 1% can be said to already have their name cards on the
tables at the great feast in heaven. Most so-called Christians
are far from God and in serious sin. Many more are nominal
or cultural, not really striving to live out the fullness
of faith. Many who have met Christ and are striving to live
Christ are doing nothing to share Christ.
So the Master sent out his servant to invite and bring in
the guests to the great feast, but many of them are declining.
Now Jesus sends out his disciples to bring in as many as we
can. To do so, he empowers us to witness.
The invitation to the great feast has been issued. The evangelizers
have been mobilized. The harvest has been prepared. When we
finally gather in heaven, we will start the feast with worship,
“for it is written: ‘As I live, says the Lord,
every knee shall bend before me, and every tongue shall give
praise to God.’” (Rom 14:11).
And “I tell you, there will be rejoicing among the angels
of God” (Lk 15:10), as well as all the saints. May we
be counted among them.
Onward to the New Evangelization!