Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 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, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen Matthew 28:18-20 NKJV
Our family went on our annual summer vacation a few weeks ago. For years now, we have been going to a small modest cottage that sits on the beach at Emerald Isle. As you cross the bridge, one of the first things you notice is that the area is declared a sea turtle sanctuary. We’ve never been witness to the hatching and scrambling of the baby turtles across the beaches but it doesn’t take long to realize this is a pretty big deal to many, both to the locals and also to those visiting.
One of the things I love most about vacation is my time on the beach in the morning with the Lord. Just the Lord, me, my Bible, my journal and, of course, my coffee! I wake up often through the night and check the clock anxiously waiting for the time to head out. Much of the time, I’ll just get up and go. Let’s just say I get to see a lot of night sky!!! Absolutely lovely!!!
On our second morning there, I had been on the beach with my coffee for quite some time. The sun was on the rise and people had started to get in their morning walks and jogs. As I was sitting there, a lady, about my age, was walking by and she stopped in front of me. After a friendly “good morning,” she proceeded to inform me that around midnight a batch of sea turtles had hatched. This was obviously a big deal to her as she proceeded to say she had stayed into the wee hours of the morning to see over 80 turtles hatch and make their way to the ocean. In her excitement over the event, she stated, “It just gives me chills!” as she hugged herself and rubbed her arms in demonstration. She told me where the nest was and invited me to come and see. I thanked her for the information and she was on her way, with a definite bounce in her step as she headed back to the nest site.
Immediately, I was convicted in my spirit! This lady, a complete stranger, was so excited over the hatching of baby sea turtles, she was compelled to stop and tell me, a complete stranger, all about it and to invite me to come see where it had all happened. Here I am sitting in silence with my Bible in my lap, having time with the One Who created those sea turtles. Why am I not the one walking down the beach with a bounce in my step and goose bumps on my arms as I stop and tell complete strangers about Jesus and inviting them to come see for themselves?! Sure, I’ve gone out knocking on doors, passing out flyers with information, done backyard Bible school, worked on service projects, handed out food, invited complete strangers to church events and services…while on a mission trip. That’s what you do on a mission trip, right? Once every few years or so. But is that fulfilling what the Lord has commanded me to do in these verses from Matthew? A command we often refer to as the “great commission”? Somehow, I don’t think so. And, after my encounter with the sea turtle lady, I seriously doubt it!!
Oh, Lord! Forgive me there is more excitement about sea turtles than about You! And Lord, forgive me for neglecting the mission field right here in my own community. May I not wait for a special invitation. The command has already gone out. Help me see the many, many opportunities each day to reach out and meet the needs of those around me and to tell them about Jesus. In Jesus Name, Amen!