Gathering or Scattering?

As I look back over the past twenty-five years of following Jesus, clearly my greatest passion has been God’s mission — engaging in it and leading others to engage in it, too!

I’ve always been challenged by Jesus’ first words after the resurrection: “As the Father sent me, so I am sending you!” (John 20.21, CEB).

The mission of the church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ. In the United Methodist Church, we say the mission is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world! When this isn’t at the core of our passion and focus, we find ourselves working against Christ rather than with him, scattering instead of gathering!

This morning, I was reading in Luke and came across the story where people wondered if Jesus was actually casting out demons by the power of Beelzebul, the ruler of demons. Jesus argued, “Every kingdom divided against itself is destroyed” (Luke 11.17, NET). He concluded the conversation by saying, “Whoever isn’t with me is against me, and whoever doesn’t gather with me, scatters” (Luke 11.23, CEB).

We’re either gathering or scattering. If we’re not gathering with Christ, we’re scattering. If we’re not working with him, we’re working against him. What a scary thought!

The mission is not about us. It’s not ultimately our mission. We don’t get to choose it. It’s God’s mission. We simply enter into it. When God rescues us, we are called into the mission of rescuing others!

Jesus said …

You didn’t choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you could go and produce fruit and so that your fruit could last (John 15.16, CEB).

Sitting on the sidelines and watching from afar isn’t an option. Participation is expected. God calls us to be in mission with him. If we’re not gathering with him, Jesus says we’re scattering!

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