I want to end with the final sentence of the Great Commission.
The latter half of v20 — “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” I love this promise.
There is so much that happens in life that can deflate you. We live in a broken world. We live among broken sinners. And whatever picture you had for the perfect life, it rarely pans out the way you want.
If you are still young, you may think, if only I get into the school of my dreams and then you get in and you go to that school and you realize, it’s not quite up to my expectations. If only I get the job of my dreams and then you start working and you realize after a few years that a job is a job and it feels like a daily grind more than anything else. If only I marry the man or the woman of my dreams and then you get married and you realize, wow, marriage is hard. I’m selfish, my spouse is selfish. It’s hard. Kids, I can’t wait to have kids and then you have your first child and you realize, parenting is hard work and my kid is so needy, give me some space. For me, I couldn’t wait to be a pastor and now that I’m a pastor, I realize it is harder and at times lonelier than I ever thought it would be.
You may experience good fortune, a lucky streak, but then tragedy hits. A loved one gets sick. We are weak. We can’t guarantee our physical health, our mental health. Even if you are healthy, age has a way of sapping the life out of you. Even our moods are so fickle. One sleepless night and whatever love you may have had for God and for neighbor vanishes.
The longer you live, the things that deflate begin to pile up and at times, it seems like the disappointments far outweigh the joys.
Should we expect anything different living in this kind of broken world where Satan rules? Jesus is inviting us to stop looking to ourselves, to our circumstances, to one another. Instead he says, come to me. Come under my authority. And surely I will be with you to the very end of the age. Look to me.
Whatever joys, whatever struggles, whatever dreams fulfilled or dreams shattered, we have to put everything into perspective. Everything in this life is just a drop in the ocean. What is 60-70-80 years compared to eternity? This is God’s promise–I will be with you always. Always. Always. When you are on the mountain top, I am with you. When you are in the valley of discouragement, I am with you. To the very end of the age. And beyond. Think about it. If you are a believer, you will be spending billions and billions and billions of years worshiping Jesus.
That gives us the perspective to look beyond the many things that normally would discourage us. That eternal perspective gives us a resiliency. If the Lord is for us, who can be against us? That kind of confidence. I can weather any storm, I can face any hardship because nothing will separate me from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus. I will not be deflated because whatever I experience here is a drop in the ocean of God’s eternity.
If you are a believer, if you are truly born again, then the Holy Spirit comes into your life and you move away from a self-oriented life where it’s all about me to a Spirit-generated selflessness. Only the Holy Spirit can move us from a “bless me” mindset to a “how can I bless others” mindset.
Thinking too much of yourself, I am so great OR thinking too little of yourself, I am so awful–both will render you completely unable to bless others. Thankfully, both forms of selfishness–pride and insecurity–are leveled at the cross. Not thinking too much of yourself or thinking too little of yourself, but thinking of yourself less. This is the gospel. You are more sinful than you ever dared believe, but you are also more loved than you ever dared hope. And if you understand the gospel, you are freed from self-centeredness and you are given a Spirit-generated ability to love and serve others.
Hasn’t Jesus met your greatest need? He has forgiven you of your sin and he has written your name in the Book of Life. Your eternity is guaranteed. Jesus is on your side. Surely, I will be with you always. Therefore, you no longer have to live selfishly to meet your own needs, but you can look to the needs of others.
Are you looking to be blessed? Or are you looking to be a blessing? Lose yourself to find yourself. Deny yourself to find yourself. The heart of the gospel. The gospel is not about what you can get but what you can give. Not about what we can get because we already got it, we got forgiveness, love, eternal security. God looks at us and says I have given everything you need–salvation, Bible teaching, a church, your brains, resources, relationships–you have all you need in order to be blessing. God blesses you, not so that the blessing can remain with you, but so that you can be a blessing for others.
How can I live to be a blessing to all the nations? I have trouble loving the person right in front of me. That’s right. Christian life is impossible. This Great Commission is an impossible task. I don’t mind teaching, but I don’t want to get into the messiness of discipling another sinner. That is why God gives us 2 things to help us. One, we live under the power of Jesus’ authority in heaven and on earth. We go out into the world in Jesus Name. And two, we go with the promise of His presence.
Lastly, why should we live to be a blessing to others? Quite simply, starting from Genesis, there is a river of blessing that is flowing out to the nations. I invite you to jump into the river. Bathe in God’s blessing. I want to submerge myself in that river. If your heart is for the other, the neighbor, the nations, then this promise applies to you–surely, I will be with you always to the very end of the age.