I heard David Platt ask an interesting question recently. The question was, “Does the Word stop with you or spread through you?” In other words, when you listen to a sermon, read the Bible, or gain spiritual insight from a song, a book or other means, what do you do with what you learn? Do you keep it to yourself and internalize the lesson? Or do you receive what you have learned in order to teach it to someone else? It’s great to grow closer to God and use what we learn to more closely model our lives after His, but until we are sharing our knowledge with others, we are falling short of the things He told us to do.
I am a serious knowledge junkie; I listen to six or seven sermons a week and read over fifty books a year in my quest to learn more about Jesus. But no matter how much I listen or read, what I learn is useless until I take what God has shown me and shared it with someone else. We are called to make disciples of all nations, and that starts with the people right around us. It begins with our families, spreads to our friends, our co-workers, our cities and beyond. Each of us has access to people that no one else does, so it is our responsibility to tell them about Jesus and to nurture the growth of those who believe.
Sitting in church once or twice a week isn’t going to get it done. Meeting in small groups every so often is a start, but it’s far from the end. Until each and every one of us is modeling Christ in our lives and discipling others to do likewise, we fall short of our calling in Jesus. By reflecting Christ through our deeds, we draw others to believe in His truth, love and mercy; this is what we are told to do in Matthew 25:31-46, James 1:27, Isaiah 58 and many other places in the Bible. In addition to this, we are told to make disciples of everyone we meet (Matthew 28:19-20). When we are doing these things, we cannot help but praise Him, and we will find rest in Him.
Our life in Christ then is a three pronged mission: to tell others about Him through our words and deeds, to disciple those around us in the ways of Jesus, and finally to worship our King and rest in His goodness. Often we seem to be doing okay in one or two of these aspects, but I have found it challenging to consistently be firing on all cylinders. Yet I will not, and you must not, ever stop striving to live the life He has called us to live. This is our mission and the reason He has graciously chosen us to interactively create history with Him.
What are you doing when you receive the Word of God? Are you grateful for the teaching yet otherwise keep it to yourself? Or are you letting His Word spread through you and out into others? Are you discipling those around you so that they in turn might reach out to even more? This is the great multiplication of the gospel that we saw in the early church, and it is still the mission to which each of us is called. Don’t let the Word stop with you. In the power of Christ, let it spread and multiply through you for His glory and His kingdom.