The policy for watching television at our house is to keep the remote handy—we mute the commercials because we’ve found that only a few are worth watching. Commercials are either too loud, they rarely tell us anything important or are targeted for an audience we aren’t a part of. Sometimes we watch the silent screen to figure out what’s being advertised, but often without much luck. Awhile back one of the box stores had a good idea. Everything was either red or white, their signature colors, and each item had a circular shape or design like a bull’s-eye, their corporate logo. You knew right away what was what.
I’ve thought about the convenience of the television remote and I wonder how many Christians and even churches are clutching their biblical remote. Are we indiscriminately using the “mute” for parts of the Bible we aren’t interested in?
Recently I spent an amazing week with people who are taking Matthew 28:19-20 and Acts 1:8 seriously. They’re not putting Jesus’ words about sharing the Good News with others on mute. They don’t consider his words to be too loud or perhaps unimportant for us today. And they don’t see themselves as left out of the targeted audience. They realize that the “Go and make disciples” in Matthew isn’t an option and the “you shall be My witnesses” in the book of Acts isn’t only if you want to. These are marching orders for every believer. Revelation 5:9 reminds us that Jesus died and purchased for God men from “every tribe and tongue and people and nation.”
The people attending this conference wholeheartedly embrace the truth of Romans 10:13 that declares “whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved.” They also know the reality of the verses that follow, including the one that says “and how shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard…?” This is why they were sitting on the edge of their seats drinking in the stories we were sharing, asking questions and excited to see how God is in the process of getting His message out. The theme of the conference was “Missions Isn’t Optional” and they knew it.
In Acts 1:8 Jesus explains that his followers will be witnesses for him in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and even to the remotest part of the earth. Like that box store, the colors of heaven as God reaches down to mankind are red and white—a new life through Jesus’ sacrifice. Jesus’ blood was shed for each one of us; our sins replaced by His righteousness. And God desires that His love reaches out in ever-expanding circles until all men and women hear about this new life in Christ.
If you mute missions, you silence the heart of God. These verses in Matthew and Acts, as well as others that talk about the mandate to go to all people, aren’t brief interruptions in the grand narrative of the Bible to be muted for our convenience. Beginning in Genesis, the plan of missions is woven throughout the entire Bible. Not everyone can be involved in the front lines of global missions, those “remotest parts” where people have yet to hear the Good News, but God can use each of us to support missions and missionaries wherever His Word is being preached. God also wants us to reach out to those in our own Jerusalem and Judea. Put down the remote and allow God to reach others through you. Think globally and get involved. Be committed to making sure missions comes through loud and clear!