By Frank Collins, Jr.
The loss of a great leader can either discourage or encourage his or her followers. We can mourn the absence of their leadership or use their lives as inspiration.
In the first chapter of the book of Joshua we observe God handing over leadership of the Hebrew nation to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant. God informs Joshua that Moses is dead. He then commissions Joshua to take the reins and do what is necessary to accomplish the mission of God.
Three times in Joshua 1 God instructs Joshua to “be strong and courageous.” In fact, in verse 7 Yahweh instructs Joshua to be strong and very courageous. Joshua is about to enter areas of land that he has never crossed into before. He is entering this land by faith because he has heard from God.
Those of us who follow Jesus Christ have experienced the physical absence of our leader also. But before Jesus ascended into heaven, He, being God, commissioned us to carry on the work of making disciples of all the nations. We call this work the Great Commission. This declaration applies to all Jesus’ followers, so we should understand the factors that are involved. It reads,
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”Matthew 28:18-20, ESV
A believer is either going to be encouraged or discouraged to follow Jesus’ directive to “go make disciples!” Fear can come upon us when we decide to “go,” even if we are operating under the authority of Jesus Christ Himself. Nonetheless, since Jesus Christ has all authority, we may obey Him without fear. No matter where He leads us, no matter what circumstances we face, He is in control. By His death and resurrection, Jesus defeated all enemies and won for Himself all authority. He is with us always.
Because I was ready to “go,” God recently gave me an opportunity to see God at work in the fulfillment of this commission by our departed Leader.
As a retired master plumber, I hardly ever touch my tools anymore unless there is work to be done at our home. However, a friend of mine recently gave my phone number to “Suzie,” a woman of Indian descent who wanted me to come and do some work on a toilet at their house. Other things seemed to continually get in the way, so it was two weeks before I could get to the house. When I arrived, Suzie’s husband, “Prakash,” met me at the door, let me in, and offered me a Pepsi. (I declined because I never drink on the job😊). It turned out all Suzie needed was the toilet seat changed on her bedroom toilet from a regular toilet seat to a heated bidet seat.
About 12 years ago I did some test work on a Hindu worship center and took my son Frank III along with me. As we walked through their worship center, Frank III noticed that there were about 200 statues and statuettes on the stage at the front of the room. Naturally, he wondered what they were.
I explained to him that they were false gods that the Hindi people worshiped. Following that experience, I studied up on Indian religious practices. Little did I know God was preparing me for future opportunities to engage people of the Hindu faith. Fast forward 12 years to my recent efforts to help Suzie and her husband with a toilet seat. It took me two hours to do something that normally would have taken only 15 minutes because of the conversation the three of us had as I sat on the floor in their bathroom.
Even though it had been years since I had studied Hindu worship practices, I now have new friends from a different race. I learned that Prakash had accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior years ago. His wife, however, believes that everyone has their own god. I look forward to our conversations to come concerning Jesus Christ and Hinduism. Before I left the home, I prayed with these new friends, and I continue to pray for Prakash, who is in the beginning stages of dementia.
Are you ready to “go?” Are you willing to do some research and learn the customs and lifestyle of people who are of a different belief than you? A different race? Or simply to reach out to a neighbor? I am! Thank you, Father, for preparing me for the opportunity to GO and assuring me of Your authority and presence as I obey.
About the Author
Frank Collins Jr. is the lead pastor of Breath of Life Christian Church in Harper Woods, Michigan. Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, he is a retired skilled trades teacher and journeyman plumber. A certified human behavior counselor, Frank holds a B.A. degree in biblical science and is currently a graduate student at Moody Theological Seminary in Plymouth, Michigan, pursuing a Master of Divinity Degree.
Frank genuinely loves God, God’s people, their families, and the lost. It is his heart’s desire to help others become growing disciples for Christ so that they can enlarge His Kingdom on earth and subsequently take their place in heaven. He has been happily married to Renita since 1998. They have five beautiful children: Andrew, Kimberly (deceased), David, Frank III, and Raina.