Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
The most famous statement in Christendom about the purpose of mankind is the first question in the Westminster Shorter Catechism(1646-47): “Q. What is the chief end of man? A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.” That question and answer speaks of man’s eternal purpose. But we have a temporary mission to accomplish before we can enjoy that ultimate purpose.
There is great hope in the idea of enjoying God forever. It allows us to endure trials knowing our ultimate purpose and destination. But our temporary mission is equally hopeful since it helps bring about our ultimate purpose. The Church’s temporary mission is to “make disciples of all the nations”—taking the Gospel to the ends of the earth in order to welcome more and more into the kingdom of God. That mission—as the New Testament illustrates—can be filled with hardship. But it is also filled with hope as we fulfill our calling.
Keeping the long view in mind is critical to hopeful living. It reminds us that our hope will one day be fulfilled. Our mission is to spread that hope to others.
Every life without Christ is a mission field; every life with Christ is a missionary.