When God Sends You to the Grocery Store…
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” And I said, “Here I am; send me!” (Isaiah 6:8)
HERE I AM, LORD
When I was in college, I was eager to be a disciple of the Lord. I dreamed of being sent to Africa and sharing the Gospel with orphans. I pictured myself living in a small hut among the natives of Uganda or Tanzania, the red dirt under my bare feet. Fancy cars and spacious homes weren’t on my bucket list. Instead, I pictured frail children and many meals of rice and beans. I dream big, you guys.
But God never sent me to Africa.
GOD SENT ME TO A FOOTBALL FIELD
After graduating from college, I knew I wanted to serve the Lord. I wasn’t sure what that would look like or how it would come about, but I knew the next step for me was to go to Seminary. Still hanging on tight to my Africa dream, I was accepted into the Masters of Divinity program at a Seminary in South Carolina. I moved into a small apartment on campus and couldn’t wait to begin classes.
Not shortly after moving in, I noticed some guys from Seminary organizing a flag football team on the pecan grove outside my apartment building. I also noticed there were absolutely no girls joining the team. That day I decided I would join the flag football team. Had I ever really played football before? Not really. Did I know any of the positions besides quarterback? Nope. But was I going to let these guys think girls weren’t strong enough to play football? Absolutely not. Girl power.
On that day, I ran into a guy (literally) while playing football. A few hours later, I called my best friend and said, “I just met the guy I’m going to marry.”
Well, I called it.
We started dating the next week and got married a year and a half later. And if you hear his version of how we met, he will give you all sorts of BS about how I stole his football position and didn’t really kick his ass in football (which I did).
After graduating from Seminary, we had three kids in a five-year span. I became a stay-at-home mom, spending each waking (and also many sleeping) hours tending to babies and toddlers. My thoughts about being sent to Africa as a missionary slowly disappeared among diapers and dishes.
WHEN GOD SENDS YOU TO THE GROCERY STORE
Today I went to the Grocery Store.
It wasn’t anything other than an ordinary shopping trip. In fact, most things I do these days are pretty ordinary. I buy food, I make lunches, I wash dishes, and I fold laundry. My days are spent scraping hardened playdough off the kitchen table and kissing boo-boos. I read children’s books while surrounded by mountains of laundry and watch the kids make mud pies in the yard. Going to the bathroom by myself is a special treat and I usually have at least one child interrupting my sleep. Vacations rarely happen and I have been puked on three times this week. I don’t fight social oppression each day and I don’t share the Gospel with women in third world countries, but I know that…
WE ARE CALLED WHEREVER WE ARE
Go therefore 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 that I have commanded you. (Matthew 28:19-20)
This is one of my favorite Bible verses, but also one that is widely mistranslated. It is often used as a command that implies one should go forth on mission trips. In reality, that is not what this verse means at all. In order to break it down, you need to know the original Greek (Thanks, thousands of hours of Greek class!).
THESE ARE THE IMPORTANT WORDS:
THE WORD “GO”
Many translations treat this word as an imperative, “GO!”. The thing is, this word is not an imperative at all. It’s a participle. It is better translated as, “As you are going about your day”. Notice the difference. Jesus is not saying “GO HERE!.” He is saying, “as you are going about your normal ordinary life…”
THE WORD “DISCIPLES”
Most translations translate this word as a participle (making disciples). But the original Greek actually has this word as an imperative. It is better translated as, “As you are going about, DISCIPLE!”
See what a difference grammar makes!
Jesus did not say, “Go! And make disciples of all nations”. He said, “Disciple as you go about your days”. Now, what about the “all nations” part? Well, this word ( ἔθνη) translates as “gentiles” or those of another ethnicity. The word ἔθνη (Ethnay) actually sounds like our English word, “Ethnic”. Jesus is saying that we should share the Gospel with everyone, including other ethnic groups. We shouldn’t only share it among those who think like us.
Here is my translation of Matthew 28:19:
As you are going about your day, DISCIPLE to all ethnic groups, leading them to faith and teaching them.
WHEREVER GOD SENDS YOU, DISCIPLE!
Where is God sending you, today? Are you heading to the grocery store? The bank? To work? To your home? You don’t need to go somewhere extraordinary to do what God is asking. Be where you are. And as you are going about your day, disciple!
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