Go Into All The (Plane) and Make Disciples

Matthew 28:18-20 – Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

So I travel a lot.  Ok, that is an understatement.  I travel a crazy amount of time.  The amount of people I see once in a lifetime and have nonchalant chit chat in a week is more than most people will have in a year.

I spend a lot of time in prayer when on planes.  And reading.  And playing castle defense on my phone.  And writing blogs.  And doing anything I can to pass the time without having to get too deep with someone.

I have a general prayer that I pray every time I get on a flight.  “Lord, please guide this plane to (insert destination) safely.  But if it is my time to join You in heaven, please give me the boldness and the opportunity to take each and every one of these souls with me.”

Today after praying that, I felt convicted. 

When the disciples were traveling or in prison or even martyred, were they praying for safety?  No, they were praying for boldness.  Others were praying for safety for those who were putting themselves in front of an angry world.  For example, in John 17, Jesus prays for the safety of His disciples.  Paul did pray for safety…once.  In 2 Thessalonians 3:2 he asks for prayers that God will keep them safe. 

But before Paul prayed for safety, he prayed for boldness and opportunity.  He prayed that he would be used to spread the gospel message to more people, knowing that he was going into a land of people who were hostile to this message.

More often than not, Paul did not pray for safety.  Paul did not ask for the easy way out.  Paul knew that strength only comes by going through the fight.  Paul knew that he needed to be crucified with Christ and that would involve getting bloodied and beaten.  Paul knew that the message of hope and peace through Christ was more important than his own personal safety and happiness.

So let me come back to my plane ride.  I didn’t really talk to anyone on the flight.  Mostly spent this time in prayer and strategizing how to approach people on an airplane.  Being on an airplane is an interesting time.  At any moment in our lives, we come in contact with hundreds of people at the grocery store, restaurants, church, walking on the street, in the office, etc….But on an airplane, at least the Boeing 737-800 that I flew to Denver today, there are simply 175 people who are forced together by one single common thread, a flight. 

And it may be creepy to see a 43-year old man stand up and begin preaching from the exit row window seat.  They might think I was getting ready to open the emergency exit and try to fly or something.  But it is possible to be Christ to the people next to me.  The man in the aisle row next to me was originally in the window seat and asked if I would switch seats with him.  The woman in the middle seat next to me got chilly and I helped her put her jacket on.  Even the unaccompanied minor a few seats in front of me was feeling uncomfortable so I stopped to talk to her before boarding.  None of those cry our boldness and opportunity, but they do live up to God’s command to love others as we love ourselves. 

It is why in this day and age I try to hold doors for women, give my seat to the elderly (of course I’ll be elderly soon enough), and try to make crying kids smile in the line at the grocery store.  People begin to see your heart.  And when your heart shows through, then their walls break down.  It makes the opportunities come easier.  And the more opportunities you get to show Christ, the more bold you will become to share Christ.

It doesn’t take a seminary degree to know that God wants to use us where we are.  He has given each of us a testimony of how He has changed our lives.  I’m not talking a prosperity gospel, but how our lives have changed in Biblical ways because we have fallen in love.  In love with a God who is alive and loves us.  In love with a God who desires that all of His creations will spend eternity with Him.  In love with a God who loves us so much that He is willing to destroy the heavens and earth and create a new one in order for everyone to realize that His love is real and He wants to see us in a state of holiness again.

So, Christian, show love to others in the name of Christ and not for your own personal gain.  In it you will gain the opportunities to share your testimony and the boldness will soon follow.

2 Timothy 1:7 – For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

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