In my previous article, I talked about our need to become world-class Christians. I talked about the importance of shifting our thinking from being self-centered to being others-centered. There are at least two other major shifts that need to happen in our thinking.
Shift from local to global thinking
God is a global God. He has always cared about the entire world: “God so loved the world” (John 3:16a NIV).
From the beginning, he has wanted family members from every nation he created. The Bible says, “From one person God made all nations who live on earth, and he decided when and where every nation would be. God has done all this, so that we will look for him and reach out and find him” (Acts 17:26-27a CEV).
Much of the world already thinks globally. The largest media and business conglomerates are all multinational. Our lives are increasingly intertwined with those in other nations as we share fashion, entertainment, music, sports, and even fast food. Probably most of the clothes you’re wearing, and much of what you’ve eaten today, was produced in another country. We’re more connected than we realize.
These are exciting days to be alive. There are more Christians on earth right now than ever before.
The first way to start thinking globally is to begin praying for specific countries. World-class Christians pray for the world. Get a globe or map and pray for nations by name.
“If you ask me, I will give you the nations; all the people on earth will be yours” (Psalm 2:8 NCV).
Prayer is the most important tool for our mission in the world. People may refuse our love or reject our message, but they are defenseless against our prayers. Like an intercontinental missile, you can aim a prayer at a person’s heart whether you’re 10 feet away or 10,000 miles away.
What should you pray for? The Bible tells us to pray for opportunities to witness, for courage to speak up, for those who will believe, for the rapid spread of the message, and for more workers. Prayer can do what God can do, and it makes you a partner with others around the world.
You should also pray for missionaries and everyone else involved in the global harvest.
Another way to develop global thinking is to read and watch the news with “Great Commission Eyes.” Wherever there is change or conflict, you can be sure that God will use it to bring people to him.
People are most receptive to God when they are under tension or in transition. Because the rate of change is increasing in our world, more people are open to hearing the Good News now than ever before.
The best way to switch to global thinking is to just get up and go on a short-term mission project to another country! There’s simply no substitute for hands-on, real-life experience in another culture.
In Acts 1:8, Jesus gave us a pattern for involvement: “You will tell everyone about me in Jerusalem, in all Judea, in Samaria, and everywhere in the world” (Acts 1:8b CEV).
His followers were to reach out to their community (Jerusalem), to their country (Judea), to other cultures (Samaria), and to other nations (everywhere in the world).
Note that our commission is simultaneous, not sequential. While not everyone has the missionary gift, every Christian is called to be on-mission to all four groups in some way.
Set a goal to participate in a mission project to each of these four targets. I urge you to save money and do whatever it takes to participate in a short-term mission trip overseas as soon as possible. Nearly every mission agency can help you do this. It will enlarge your heart, expand your vision, stretch your faith, deepen your compassion, and fill you with a kind of joy you’ve never experienced. It could be the turning point in your life.
Shift from temporal to eternal thinking
To make the most of your time on earth you must maintain an eternal perspective. This will keep you from majoring on minor issues and help you distinguish between what’s urgent and what’s ultimate.
Paul said, “We fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:18 NIV)
So much of what we waste our energy on will not matter even a year from now, much less for eternity. Don’t trade your life for temporary things.
What are you allowing to stand in the way of your mission? What’s keeping you from being a world-class Christian? Whatever it is, let it go.
You’ve probably heard the expression “You can’t take it with you” — but the Bible says you can send it on ahead, by investing it people who are going there!
Shift from thinking of excuses to thinking of creative ways to fulfill your commission. If you’re willing, there’s always a way to do it, and there are agencies who will help you.
Maybe you’ve believed that you needed a special “call” from God, and you’ve been waiting for some supernatural feeling or experience, but God has already stated his call repeatedly. We’re all called to fulfill God’s five purposes for our lives: to worship, to fellowship, to grow like Christ, to serve, and to be on mission with God in the world.
God doesn’t want to use just some of his people; he wants to use all of his people. We’re all called to be on-mission for God. He wants his whole church to take the whole gospel to the whole world.
If you want to be like Jesus, you must care about what he cares about most; you must have a heart for the whole world! You can’t be satisfied with just your family and friends coming to Christ. There are over six billion people on earth, and Jesus wants all his lost children found.
The Great Commission is your commission, and doing your part is the secret to living a life of significance.