Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
There are three things that I enjoy doing most in this world: running, reading, and talking about Jesus. I do not care about sports, politics or business which leaves me out of most conversations. I write, because it gives me a platform on which I might talk about Jesus and the Christian life.
In the spring of 2010 (eight years ago) the Lord God put it in my heart and mind to participant in the Great Commission:
All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.1I had not grown up in a home where discipleship was taught and my exposure to the church body was nominal; therefore, when I came to faith in Christ my theological knowledge was infantile. The Lord granted me time to mature by reading His word before calling me to serve Him in the Great Commission.
Once I heard His voice, I followed His word in evangelism, but I was like a toddler learning how to walk. My desire for personal knowledge of the Lord and to obey His word kept growing. I yearned for formal•structured•discipleship, so that I may know how to make disciples and teach them. This eventually resulted in my enrollment at Mid-Western Baptist Theological Seminary. I started course work on March 21, 2016, and have now completed 11 of 15 courses towards a Master of Theological Studies.
Prior to beginning the (MTS) course work I thought that the Great Commission consisted merely of converting people to Christ by preaching the gospel to them. However, I have come to understand that the Great Commission consist of:
- Making disciples of Jesus Christ
- Initiating them into the fellowship of disciples (believer’s baptism is the initiatory right of the church)
- Teaching them to observe the Law of Christ
I am taking the summer off from course work and will resume formal studies on August 13, 2018, with a plan to graduate (Lord willing) on May 3, 2019. I know that the Lord would have me participating in the Great Commission throughout my life but in what way?
And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;2Recently I reached an age milestone. I am now fifty years old. No matter how a person looks at it, fifty is a significant age.
Philosophically fifty is a significant age because the average American male lives to be 76 years old. Both my father and his father died in their seventies. I know that no man knows the day or hour of his physical death or the Lord’s return, it could be today, or it could be another fifty years, but the law of averages tells me that I have lived approximately 2/3 of my life.
Theologically fifty is a significant age as well. The Old Testament tells us the history of Israel, a people covenanted to serve the Lord our God. In the Old Testament book of Numbers, vss. 8:23-26 the Levites were to begin working in the tent of meeting at the age of twenty-five but at the age of fifty they were to retire from service; thereafter, only assisting their brothers in a supervisory role. Some theologians believe that the Levites represent redeemed Christians having been cleansed and set apart for service to the Lord without inheritance in this world.3
Lately, I have felt out of place and mournful at my job. I know that some of this has to do with a currently ignored situation at my place of employment, combined with the nature of the job itself, but I think that there is more to it than that. I have spent almost all of my adult life working in an Intensive Care Unit. Am I to move into a supervisory/teaching role as a nurse or am I to serve the Lord in ministry? I know what I am supposed to be doing in the present, completing my seminary training while working in the ICU, but what does the Lord have me doing after graduation? Darlene and I covet your prayers.
In Christ alone,
1 Mt. 28:18-20, NASB95.
2 Eph. 4:11, NASB95.
3 William MacDonald, Believer’s Bible Commentary: A Complete Bible Commentary in One Volume, ed. Art Farstad, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1990) 177.