Jesus didn’t tell his disciples, “Go and save souls”; salvation is the sovereign work of God. He said, “Go and make disciples.” But you can’t make disciples unless you are a disciple yourself—that is, unless you are rightly related to Jesus Christ.

When the disciples came back from their first mission, they were filled with joy at what they’d been able to do: “Lord, even the demons submit to us” (Luke 10:17). Jesus replied, “Do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven” (v. 20). He was saying, “Do not rejoice in successful service. The great secret of joy is that you are rightly related to me.”

We have to keep this secret at the forefront of our minds, so that we may remain true to the call of God. God calls his missionaries to a single purpose: discipling men and women to Jesus Christ. If we aren’t rightly related to our Lord, we risk losing focus and giving in to a passion for winning souls that doesn’t spring from God but from the desire to make converts to our point of view.

The challenge the missionary faces isn’t that people are difficult to save or that the world is full of indifference. The missionary’s challenge lies in maintaining a relationship with Jesus Christ; it lies in believing that what he said is true. In every case we encounter as missionaries, our Lord asks us: “Do you believe I am able to do this?” In turn, we have to ask ourselves: “Am I wise enough in God’s sight, and foolish enough in the world’s sight, to bank on what Christ has said, or am I abandoning the great supernatural position of boundless confidence in him?” If I take up any method other than acting in total confidence on what Jesus Christ has said, I depart from the method he set down: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go” (Matthew 28:18–19).

Wisdom from Oswald

To live a life alone with God does not mean that we live it apart from everyone else. The connection between godly men and women and those associated with them is continually revealed in the Bible, e.g., 1 Timothy 4:10.  Not Knowing Whither, 867 L