I would like to share that skit here with you today as just a little food for thought:
Passport to the World
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (Matthew 28:19-20)
Setting: A missionary (older man) is standing next to his display shaking hands with people as they leave the church. Two or three people come through, quickly shake hands and move on. A young couple comes up to display and stops to look at it.
Missionary Whitman: (Smiling and reaching out to shake hands.) Hi, there!
Pete: Good morning, Mr. Whitman. Really enjoyed your message this morning. Thanks so much for sharing your ministry with us today.
Whitman: You’re welcome. It’s great to be here! (To young wife) Do you see anything that interests you, young lady?
Meg: (She smiles, picking up a curio to look at it more closely.) It all interests me!
Pete: Oh, excuse me! I guess we should introduce ourselves. My name is Pete Jenkins and this is my wife, Meg.
Whitman: Good to meet you both!
Pete: To tell you the truth, Mr. Whitman, we are very interested in missions. Every time we have one of these missions conferences, or a missionary comes to speak, we just feel like maybe the Lord is calling us somehow into missions. And now, we can’t seem to shake that feeling, even in between hearing missionaries speak here in our church.
Meg: We don’t know, though… We have so many questions! How do we know for sure if God is really calling us, and it’s not just our own feelings leading us? Where in the world would He have us to go if He is calling us? Our hearts feel burdened every time we see a missionary presentation. And really, we don’t even know if we’re strong enough to do something like this—all that preparation, I mean, and then to leave family and home behind… (She shrugs her shoulders and looks doubtful.)
Pete: (Earnestly) Yes, how can we know if we really are called and if we have what it takes to be a missionary?
Whitman: (Laughs.) Hold on! To really answer all those questions would take hours. I encourage you to speak with your pastor and share your questions with him. Let me just share a couple simple things with you right now, though… You remember how I spoke on The Great Commission this morning? Matthew 28:19 and 20 says, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” The call has been given to all Christians right there. It is the last thing Christ said on this earth before He returned to Heaven. The call has been given. God is just waiting for us to answer.
Pete: So God has already called us…
Whitman: Look. (He picks up a passport from the display table.) This is my old passport. The United States government issued it to me, and all the authority of the United States of America stands behind it in allowing me to travel throughout the world. (He holds up his Bible.) The Gospel is my authority from the Lord Himself. The Great Commission is a commandment, or a mandate to His followers that we are to go in His name—in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost—and take the Gospel throughout the world so that others may hear of Him and be saved.
Meg: So it’s not just a call, but a commandment?
Whitman: (He nods.) With all of God’s authority behind it. And not only that, but it is a commission that is personal to each one of us! (Holds up passport again.) This passport was issued to me and to me alone. (Turns pages) It says right here on page five that it is unlawful for anyone else to use it! The Great Commission is personal as well! If we are saved, we are individually to take part in the Great Commission in some way—whether it be here or abroad; whether it be through praying, giving or actually sharing the Good News of the Gospel ourselves. Our salvation is very personal thing, isn’t it? When Jesus says “Come unto me, all ye who labor and are heavy laden,” that is very personal isn’t it? Well, someone has said, ‘Go ye’ is as much a part of Christ’s Gospel as ‘Come unto Me.’
Pete: So we need to take “Go ye” personally.
Meg: (Thoughtfully) I don’t think I ever thought of it that way before. I mean, I guess I just thought it was the church’s responsibility to do something about missions… I’m still kind of scared, though. It seems like such a huge thing!
Whitman: (Holds up passport.) This passport not only tells me that I have the authority of the US government behind me, but I also have its assistance if I run into trouble in a foreign country or have an emergency. I just have to contact the nearest US embassy or consulate. (Holds up Bible.) Matthew 28:20 says, “and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” Christ promises right here in this passage to be with us always, no matter where we are in this world, when we are obeying His Great Commission. The authority and assistance of the US government is great, but how far greater is God’s authority and help! He protects and equips us for whatever He has called us to do!
Pete: There is no reason, then, to be afraid if we have a mandate from God and His promise to go with us.
Whitman: That’s right! And here’s something else. On the very first page of my passport the United States government requests that other countries allow me to enter. When I enter another country my passport is stamped. Each of these stamps inside my passport represents a nation. And each of these nations represents millions of lost souls. The Gospel is my passport to reach those lost souls, my passport to a world of lost souls! And Pete and Meg, let us never forget that the Gospel of Jesus Christ, crucified and resurrected for our salvation, is the passport to Heaven for each of those precious souls who believes in Him and accepts Him as their personal Savior.
Pete: Amen, Brother Whitman, amen. Thanks for taking the time to speak with us this morning. (They shake hands and then Pete looks at Meg.) Well, Honey, we have a lot to think about. Let’s go home and pray that the Lord will show us what He wants our part to be in the Great Commission. And I think we’d better apply for our passports—just in case! (He puts his arm around her shoulder and they walk away.)
Whether we are called to go into all the world, into our own neighborhoods, or to our own families and friends; whether we are called to preach or teach, testify, build, give or pray – if we are truly Christians we are called to be a part of the Great Commission. Those who are called to stay behind and support through prayer and finances are just as responsible to do their part as those who are called to go, and will partake of the rewards equally, as well. Hudson Taylor, the great missionary to China in the late 1800’s said, “The Great Commission is not an option to be considered; it is a command to be obeyed.” May we each prayerfully consider if we are doing our part to reach the world for Christ.*
Finally, a few more thoughts to ponder from great men and women of God who had true hearts for missions:
“God isn’t looking for people of great faith, but for individuals ready to follow Him”
— Hudson Taylor
“If a commission by an earthly king is considered an honor, how can a commission by a
Heavenly King be considered a sacrifice?” — David Livingstone
“The Bible is not the basis of missions; missions is the basis of the Bible” – Ralph Winter
“The mission of the church is missions” — Oswald J. Smith
“We must be global Christians with a global vision because our God is a global God.” –
“The mark of a great church is not its seating capacity, but its sending capacity.” — Mike
“In no other way can the believer become as fully involved with God’s work, especially
the work of world evangelism, as in intercessory prayer.” — Dick Eastman
“Prayer is the mighty engine that is to move the missionary work.” — A.B. Simpson
“‘Go ye’ is as much a part of Christ’s Gospel as ‘Come unto Me.’ — J. Stuart Holden
“I believe that in each generation God has called enough men and women to evangelize
all the yet unreached tribes of the earth. It is not God who does not call. It is man who
will not respond!” — Isobel Kuhn
“The Christian is not obedient unless he is doing all in his power to send the Gospel to
the heathen world.” — A B Simpson
“We talk of the Second Coming; half the world has never heard of the first.” — Oswald J.
“Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God” — William Carey
“Lost people matter to God, and so they must matter to us.” — Keith Wright
“If you found a cure for cancer, wouldn’t it be inconceivable to hide it from the rest of
mankind? How much more inconceivable to keep silent the cure from the eternal
wages of death.” — Dave Davidson