“Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.”
What does it mean to be sent? Messengers are sent, ambassadors are sent, representatives are sent, teams are sent out on the field, troops to war, ambulances to accident sites… To be sent means to be deployed for a specific purpose. Most often our being sent bears some relation to our skills or connections.
Jesus sent his disciples to proclaim Good News of God’s activity in the world, to announce freedom to the poor and those in captivity, to heal the sick and raise the dead. Those are still pretty much the reasons he sends his followers out today. Do you feel sent to any particular place or people? Where do your skills and connections and passions point you?
I felt very much “sent” to my current ministry, and now find is coming to an end sooner than I’d planned or expected. Suddenly I’m waiting to know where God is sending me next. In that waiting I have an opportunity to discern what or who is calling to me, to see what big “God dreams” might have been waiting to emerge in me while I busied myself with the many ongoing tasks in a large and busy parish.
Wherever God sends me, I know God will also lead and equip me. Unlike a courier who goes out and reports back, apostles of Jesus Christ get to carry his presence and power with us as we go. It takes off some of the pressure, if we can only allow the Spirit to do the work and stop taking it on ourselves.
When have you felt sent by God, short or long-term?
Being sent starts, like everything in the Christian life, with relationship. We strengthen our relationship with Jesus through the Holy Spirit so that we can better understand God's prompts. They might come through our own desires, or through discerning a need or a lack. Sometimes God makes it clear through dreams and “coincidences” that cannot finally be denied. We can check with others if a calling seems really odd or risky – and if we go forward, know it will be most fruitful as we are aware of going with God, not for God.
And wherever we are sent by God, when we get there, we find God there too. Funny how that works.