Each of us has a purpose for our lives. We are called to influence those around us for the good, to be salt and light but are we all called to pack up and leave everything and everyone to travel around the world? Let's look at how we are to change our world.
"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," Matthew 28:19
We will look at this verse then one other version of it today to see what Jesus meant. The word, "nations" here is the word "ethos" or ethnic groups, groups of differing cultures, customs, and civilizations. Jesus is challenging us to look beyond our heritage, skin color, culture, and custom to more than share the Gospel but to make disciples (help people become like Jesus). We used to have to travel around the world to do that, but now the various "ethos" is down the street from us, come into our places of work, play with our kids on their teams. We don't have to travel the world to reach every nation.
Mark's version is slightly different. Mark was the scribe for Peter, so it is really Peter's Gospel that we are reading when he says in 16:15 "And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation." The word used for "world" is the Greek word "kosmos" which has its root in systems as in political, a sphere of influence, circle of friends. Paul used this word when describing that Satan is the god of this world, not meaning this earth literally, but he has been given authority over various systems like our political, economic, or social arenas. Peter, under the same inspiration of the Holy Spirit, is challenging us to impact people by working in the systems of this world our peer groups, social groups, political world, business world. Any area that has influence in our culture we are to go into the system and impact it for the Kingdom.
Are we to go around the world to impact nations for God? Yes, is the answer! Almost more importantly, we are called to change our world right where God has us, where we work, our neighborhood, the sports teams our kids are on, and the places where we are not comfortable with different economic, racial, cultural groups as well as groups with different customs.
Look around you, there are both an "ethos" and "kosmos" everywhere you look. Where is your closest group you are called to impact? You are salt and light allow the Lord to use you to impact everywhere you are!