Make the Effort

by J. Randal Matheny, editor
They work with three churches. They were responsible for establishing one of those and helping with another. They buy groceries every Saturday for her mother — who lives two hours and a half away. The husband works twelve-hour days. The wife, Paula, has health issues. Two to three times monthly they use their Saturdays for church meetings. They often teach Bible school to adults and children, and he often preaches.
So when to study the Bible with the non-Christian girlfriend of a young Christian?
Paula wasn’t, at the moment, teaching a children’s class during Bible school. She was sitting in on her husband Jorge’s class with the adults, studying 2 Corinthians. So she suggested they study during the Bible class hour. After all, evangelizing this young lady trumped her own opportunity to be a student.
So yesterday Paula and the young lady found a corner somewhere in the house where the congregation meets and they began the first of a series of studies on how to become a Christian.
I understand the point people make about the Greek tense of “go” in Matthew 28:19, that the idea is “as you go.” But it seems to miss the mark. The word carries the force of the main verb, an imperative. The point is not only to go, but to get the job done: turning people into disciples of Christ.
As God’s people we have been sent to fulfill a task. We “go” out of our way to teach people and bring them to Christ. We must make the time, create the opportunities, find the means to get the gospel into people’s lives.
Were it not for Paula’s thinking, praying and planning, a young lady would still be without a study of the gospel. Paula went to her. It didn’t just happen. She put effort behind the desire. An effort it behooves all of us to make.
And that’s the point in this our Final Phase of humanity’s history.

2 thoughts on “Make the Effort

  1. I appreciate your thoughts here, and plan to reprint it in our newsletter at Statesboro.
    I’d like to ask you to elaborate a little on your explanation of the Greek in Matthew 28:19 (“The word carries the force of the main verb, an imperative.”), so I can explain clearly when people ask about it.
    Thanks so much.

  2. Larry, glad you find it useful.
    D.B. Wallace has an extensive discussion of this type of participle and specifically of Matt. 28:19, which, he says, is doubtful that it should be translated as “having gone” or “as you are going.”
    The best way to put it is as I mentioned in the article, about the point being not merely to go, but to get the job of discipling done. Here’s Wallace:
    “… a greater emphasis is placed on the action of the main verb [make disciples] than on the participle [Go].”
    So it seems to be a question of emphasis. I hope this is helpful.

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