At some point, the modern church’s perception of Christ’s commandment to go and make disciples was drastically altered and confined into a future ideal of great achievement. Far too often when I hear Christ’s call to “go and make disciples of all nations,” my mind jumps to God’s calling in my life to work overseas someday, and I apathetically decide that somehow that future ideal is good enough. Maybe it is just me, but I don’t think I am alone in this idealization of the future, ignoring Christ’s radical calling to the here and now. Somehow, the busyness and aspiration-oriented nature of life has blinded us to the need that is right in front of us.
Let’s take a look at our city. Although Northwest Arkansas is one of the most economically opportunistic regions of the state, 17 percent of residents living in Siloam Springs live below the poverty level (three percent above the national percentage). Furthermore, even though Siloam is within the Bible belt and has over fifty churches, there is a large part of the population that does not attend church. Even closer to home, it can be easy to forget those who are suffering among us in the JBU community. Whether it is someone who lives two doors down or someone you sit by in class, we live in a community of broken people who are in desperate need of love.
What does all of this mean? It means that we cannot afford to postpone our obedience to God’s call to love others until some future ideal in life takes place. In John 15, Jesus gives the disciples a metaphor of Jesus as the true vine and us as the branches. He says, “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love . . . This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” Abiding in the love of Christ is inseparable from active obedience to Him by making disciples in love. God calls us to step out of our lives of comfort and to love others even if it hurts. We must allow ourselves to see the need that is right before us and step in to meet those needs.
This lifelong calling to go and make disciples, wherever we may find ourselves, could look like taking time out of your day to really listen to the stories and burdens of another. It may look like actively going and seeking out those in the community who are in need spiritually and physically.
Luckily for us, JBU has some pretty amazing ways to live out God’s calling in our lives in the here and now. The Student Ministries Leadership Team provides some awesome opportunities. You can get involved in a growth group or a mentorship program, join a CAUSE ministry or go on a domestic or international mission trip. For the past year, I have been involved in and am now co-leading the Jail w (part of CAUSE). Sharing the Gospel with the inmates through exchanging experiences, encouragement, studying God’s Word and praying together, I have seen God work in incredible ways and have learned that a small step outside of your comfort zone can make a world of difference in another person’s life. That is the power of the love of Christ and the life to which God calls us as Christians.
Wherever you may find yourself, go and make disciples.
Tuttle is a sophomore majoring in intercultural studies. She can be reached at