Ends of the Earth
The gospel (good news) of Jesus Christ is not a localized thing. It is not meant just for church people or just for Americans. An old chorus says:
The first followers of Jesus were mostly all Jews, and they understood Jesus to be a Jewish Messiah—the Anointed One promised by God to become their King. But Jesus had a wider vision than that.
He told His disciples just after His resurrection, “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. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20 NIV). Make disciples of all nations. No localism there!
Then, just as Jesus was about to ascend to heaven, He told his followers, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” To the ends of the earth. Again, the vision of Jesus is that the whole world be told about Him.
That’s why our congregation sends a team on a short-term mission trip every year to Ghana, West Africa, to partner with Joseph and Stella Otsin (a church planter with the Methodist Church of Ghana) to plant two churches and make Jesus known to the ends of the earth! Today in worship (the Sunday after Easter) the Ghana Mission Team will share testimonies of what God did in Ghana! They have been witnesses to the ends of the earth, and they will be witnesses at this end of the earth to us!
That’s also why we are sending a team on a short-term mission trip in June (13-23) to Guatemala to partner with Tim and Candy Weaver in the work of Impact Ministries in bringing the gospel to that corner of the world.
We practice missions and evangelism at Dayton United Methodist Church. We know Jesus, and we seek to make Him known—in Jerusalem (among our own family, friends, neighbors, co-workers and fellow students), in Judea (extending to a wider geographic region), in Samaria (with folks who are nearby, but culturally different) and to the ends of the earth (partnering in Ghana, Guatemala and India).
I believe making Christ known is a both/and, not an either/or. It’s not either right here in our community or in Ghana. It’s not among my own family and neighbors or in Guatemala. It’s both in our workplaces and in India. It’s in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth (Dayton, Indiana, is the end of the earth if you live in India!).
What is my part? To pray for our mission partners. To participate in their ministry as God gives opportunity (Shirley and I are going to Guatemala in June with the team). To make Jesus known at Meijer’s and Cracker Barrel and the Thanksgiving family gathering. To witness to His tangible reality and incredible grace right here, this week. And to participate in making Him known to the ends of the earth. That’s an important, purposeful mission! And it’s up to us to do our part to make it happen!