“…. He showed them both His hands and His side. The disciples then rejoiced when they saw the Lord. So Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.’ -Jn. 20.20a-21
There is a great difference between the favor the Lord has shown to us in sonship, and the endorsement of God upon the work that we do.
The two most common conditions of a believer in whom the life of God is stifled are stagnant complacency and unordained busyness. It is unfortunately rare these days for us to see the kinds of works emerge that have that unique ring of heaven about them.
It seems that in most cases, particularly in the western Church, the ministries and congregations are lax and unconvinced of eternal reality, content to keep Christianity as an addendum to their lives, and a vital union with the Lord has either dissipated or been unknown altogether. This is tragic, and in these situations it is likely that the majority of the ones professing the faith have never even been born from above. Oh, for mercy and light to break into their hearts!
But the other trap, often found among those who truly have been born from above, is a kind of busy-headed Christianity, always setting our hands to different forms of ministry without having beheld the Lord of the harvest, and without having received a sending from Him. We mistake the positive sense that comes to us in our acceptance into the Beloved as an endorsement for every ministerial idea that comes to mind, and we respond like anxiety stricken employees with non-relational boss. We find our brains and schedules stretched thin by overactivity, but we have failed to see “His hands and His side.” We are not rejoicing, for we have become robotic sons, no longer seeing the Lord, but continuing to labor for “Christian” purposes. But just as Jesus only did what He saw the Father doing, Christianity without the presence and reality of Christ is a total aberration.
Hear this from Oswald Chambers:
A missionary is one sent by Jesus Christ as He was sent by God. The great dominant note is not the needs of men, but the command of Jesus. The source of our inspiration in work for God is behind, not before. The tendency today is to put the inspiration ahead, to sweep everything in front of us and bring it all out to our conception of success. In the New Testament the inspiration is put behind us, the Lord Jesus. The ideal is to be true to Him, to carry out His enterprises.
Personal attachment to the Lord Jesus and His point of view is the one thing that must not be overlooked.
(Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest; Oct. 26 selection)
Jesus never overlooked His attachment to the Father, yet we have overlooked union and busied our minds with action. But the essence of that which is apostolic- or sent- has everything to do with the Source of the sending. If we have not come from seeing Him afresh in the place of prayer, what are we taking to the people among whom we have busied ourselves? It is not apostolic, or missional in the Biblical sense, unless we have have heard the Son of God say to us, “…. as the Father has sent Me, so send I you.”
And while He shows favor to us as sons, and accepts us gloriously into Himself, He does not endorse everything that we set our hands to. But how would we know the difference when we have failed to sit at His feet, experience His peace, worship Him as the Lord of all life, and trust Him to do the sending? May the Lord have for Himself vessels who have learned the primacy of seeing Him daily, and who will only take up that which He Himself has inspired, endorsed with His power, and sent into the world.
When we speak of the call of God, we are apt to forget the most important feature- the nature of the One who calls. -Chambers