Commandment vs Commission



There’s a passage in the New Testament that has become a kind of battle cry for Christians everywhere. In fact, the Christian college I attended had this verse literally written in stone on the bell tower in the center of campus. It’s commonly called The Great Commission.

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. – Matthew 28:19-20

This is what motivates most missionaries to get out of bed every day. We all love checklists and clear things to accomplish, this verse serves us well to such ends. This directive, though at the heart of what we’re called to do, is only part of the Gospel.

The Bible is a pretty big book, and it actually gives us a lot of advice and a lot of things to do. How can we decide what directives are more important than others? We can’t, that’s the point. There’s another verse, commonly called The Great Commandment, that describes another piece to this biblical puzzle.

Love your neighbor as yourself – Matthew 22:39

And of course, we can’t forget about the passage that talks about the least of these and how we’re supposed to give them water when they are thirsty, food when they are hungry, and visit them when they are in prison.

So many missionaries and churches get tunnel vision; all they can see is the great commission, completely ignoring the great commandment. The truth is, one without the other is like a gun with no bullets. Without both the great commandment and the great commission, it’s only a piece of what Jesus commanded.

Terry Dalrymple leads a network of over 500 mission organizations scattered throughout the world. He puts it like this, “Our responsibility is not to choose which of Jesus’ commands is most important, but to commit to obey everything Jesus commanded.”

Without practicing the great commandment, we’ll never truly fulfill the great commission. Evaluate your past results and future goals. If they are not equally commandment and commission minded, you’re presenting a half-Gospel.

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– Dustin Patrick |  1MISSION in Mexico, Nicaragua, & El Salvador

Find him on Twitter or Facebook.

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