And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…”
We CANNOT overemphasize the call to push the gospel to the ends of the earth. We are commanded here to go to the nations to persuade people to follow this Jesus. HOWEVER, the call to make disciples of the nations must not push false guilt on Christians who feel compelled to make disciples of their own community for the rest of their lives. Implicit in the command to “go and make disciples of all nations” is the call to “stay and make disciples of this nation”:
- The command to make disciples is a call to help people obey everything Jesus has commanded (Matt 28.20). That work is a lifelong process. It takes a long time to learn everything Jesus has commanded, and even longer to learn to obey everything he has commanded. Consider how long it would take to TEACH people to obey everything he has commanded. The United States needs people to stay here and fulfill the Great Commission.
- The command to make disciples is a command to make disciples of all NATIONs. When we look to fulfill this call we must have a national perspective in mind. There is no promise that every person in the nation will be saved, and Jesus is emphasizing every different people group in the world, but surely we cannot be satisfied with the conversion of a small number in every people group in the world. Our goal is not to simply preach the gospel to all nations. We should hope and pray that every single soul in every nation would hear the gospel and be saved. This takes many Christians in the U.S. to stay and make as many disciples as possible. Considering how many souls there are in the U.S., and how many false conversions there are in this prosperous nation, there are a relatively few disciples here. We need more, and that takes workers here.
Of course, if you are simply staying because it’s easier or safer (though you would never admit it), then by all means, GO!