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In the church I grew up in, “missionary” was a sacred and scary title, bestowed only upon the spiritual elite, the Navy Seals of the Christian world. We considered them heroes, sat in awe through their slideshows, and gladly donated our money to their ministries.

It was years later that I first realized that every Christian was a missionary, that all Christians were called to leverage their lives and talents for the kingdom. God’s calling into mission is not a separate call we receive years after our salvation; it is inherent in the very call to salvation. Every believer is given a spiritual gift and a role to play in the spread of the Great Commission. “Follow me,” Jesus said, “And I will make you fishers of men.” That’s for everyone, not just those who feel a special tingly feeling they interpret as the call of God, or those who see some message from heaven spelled out in the clouds. Too many Christians sit around waiting on a “voice” to tell them what God has already spelled out in a verse.

Another way to put it: The question is no longer if we are called to leverage our lives for the Great Commission; it’s only where and how.

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I’ve never been with someone on the last night of their life when they knew it was the last night of their life. I’ve never heard some saint pray a final prayer knowing it was their final prayer. But I would imagine it is a time of great clarity.

If you knew you were going to die tomorrow and could only ask for one thing today, what would you ask for?

John 17 contains the last recorded prayer that Jesus prayed on the night before he died. First he prays for himself and then his disciples. Then he does something that may surprise you:

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”
(John 17:20-23 NIV)

Did you notice that Jesus, in his last prayer, doesn’t pray for the world but instead for the believers in the world?

That may seem selfish. Or maybe it seems like Jesus doesn’t care about the world. But we know, of course, that Jesus cared so much about the world that he came into the world to save it.

So why does Jesus just pray for the believers and not the whole world? Because the hope for any community is found in the believers in that community.

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This guest post is brought to you by Jason Gaston, our Family Ministries Pastor. Hardly anyone embodies the passion of “seeking the 1” more than Jason. Be sure to listen to the rest of Jason’s message here.

For most of us, we don’t realize the value of something until we lose it. I take my TV remote control for granted…until it goes missing. Then suddenly we have an issue. (How did people change the channel before remotes? What kind of magic was that?) Or think about wedding bands. Most of the time, you don’t even realize you’re wearing it. But I remember going to Defy Gravity—a “trampoline park”—with some buddies, and one of them realized he had lost his ring in the foam pit. Most disgusting hour of searching we had ever done. Trust me: you don’t want to know what’s at the bottom of those foam pits.

Lost. In Jesus’ parable of the lost sheep, “lost” is the only thing that separates the 1 from the 99. The shepherd goes after the one, not because he’s the VP of the sheep club or quarterback for the Durham Lamb Chops. He goes after the one sheep because that sheep is lost.

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