Big Shoes to Fill

Here is a somewhat interesting fact about me, I wear size 15 shoes. Now, to most of you that might not sound so interesting but when your “in my shoes” it certainly can make for some curious conversation. I have been the heel of many big shoe remarks like, “at least you don’t need water skies”, or “wow, you have your own flippers for swimming”. While I inherited my larger than average foot size from my father who was a size 16, I do wonder how this will play out for any one of my three daughters. 
 
We often use the expression they have some “big shoes to fill” when a person takes over a job that the person before them performed particularly well. It typically means that it is going to be hard to do the job as well as they did. 
 
Recently as I began reading through the book of Joshua I was thinking about the “shoes” that Joshua was filling. The leadership role that Moses provided in the deliverance of the nation of Israel out of Egypt and the giving of the law would have been a tough act to follow. Joshua had some big shoes to fill but he was not alone. 
 
Standing on the shores of the Jordan River the Lord gave direction to Joshua to move forward in the promise that he would provide for them all that they needed. His words to Joshua read like this, “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.” What incredible words these would have been for Joshua to hear from the Lord as he stepped into his new role as the nation’s leader.
 
As followers of Jesus, we all have some big shoes to fill as we are called to carry on his mission. Jesus clearly lays out his mission for us, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”
 
These words in Matthew chapter 28 are as real for us today as the day they were spoken by Christ himself to his disciples. Just as Joshua had a mission from God to continue leading the nation of Israel, we too have a God given mission to continue as his disciples. The mission is clear and might sound simple enough yet in our eyes there are seemingly unmoveable barriers in front of us. We might feel like Joshua standing at the shore of the Jordan River wondering how the impossible might happen. 
 
The incredible words spoken to Joshua by God as he stepped into his role as leader are echoed in Christ words to his disciples and to us following the command to go and make disciples of all nations, Jesus reminds us of an incredible promise that we see and hear all throughout the pages of scripture, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
 
Yes, we may have some big shoes to fill in carrying on the mission Jesus started but he continues to live in us through his Spirit today. We are not alone in our own shoes. As Christ followers, we carry within us the same power of the living God who parted the waters of the Jordan River for Joshua and the people of Israel. How many steps have you tried to take on your own in carrying out the mission given to us? Remember this, God is with you always, to the very end of the age, you are not alone. 

The Great _ommission

An omission is defined as “the action of excluding or leaving out someone or something”. Today, I have purposely left something out in my title, did it catch your attention? I feel it is befitting of the mysterious tendency that creeps into the ordinary day-to-day pattern of life we as believers can sometimes drift into. The exclusion or omission of clear instruction in our spiritual life has an impact on our mission as followers of Jesus Christ. We all tend to drift without continuous reminders of who we are called to be and what our mission is as believers. 

Like the disciples, we have been given a clear and concise mandate as believers, it is recorded for us in Matthew chapter 28: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” This is the mission we chose to accept when we entered into a personal relationship with the Son of God. His words to us, his clear instructions are central to the life we are to live as his disciples.  We are called to be disciple making disciples. So, what does this look like for us today, in what context are we to “go”?

The first thing that we must consider as we walk in obedience to this command today is the promise that follows it; something that we often forget when we begin to slip into that mysterious tendency I mentioned earlier, Jesus says: “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” There should be incredible encouragement found for each one of us in this promise, not just in the beginning as we are fired up and ready to go, but right through till the end. He is with us, (think about that for a minute). “Go” in this passage refers to the act of going in a particular direction. Figuratively, it refers to taking a particular course of action, and in this case has an effect on someone becoming a disciple (a follower of Christ). The Great Commission is not only meant to cross borders (all nations) but is a call for all believers to be active in their own little parts of the world. This means we are to actively influence those who are close to us, family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, community members by living out our faith in a way that brings about change (transformational change) in their lives. 

Have you been living in omission to the Great Commission? Has life shifted your focus to a different mission? One of the best ways to build your confidence in sharing your faith so that you can fulfill your God given mission, is to immerse yourself in His word. The Bible is full of incredible testimonies of God’s amazing mercy and grace. His word has been inspiring believers for centuries to be on task, to be ready for action and to go out into the world on mission for him. It is my prayer for you that you are a disciple making disciple.