Back in the 1970’s a statewide scandal came to light in Oklahoma when it was learned in county after county that hundreds of county commissioners were guilty of taking kickbacks on contracts for roads, bridges, dams, and other county construction projects, as well as pocketing money on county purchases. Those guilty commissioners disgraced a noble word “commission”. This word carries a sacred trust in that a person commissioned to a particular action or function has a duty to perform for others and a responsibility not to be violated.
A police commissioner is charged with policing society for protection and safety; a park commissioner is assigned to oversee parks for a community; a civil rights commissioner has the task of assuring fairness and equality between people of different races; a commissioned officer in military service has the assignment of a specific number of people under him or her, as well as their welfare. “Commission” is a weighty word and one not to be taken lightly.
This is especially true in the realm of religion, where the word “commission” takes on a higher meaning. Commission now becomes a mission in concert with God – a co-mission, if you please – it is a direct spiritual assignment in league with your Creator and Father – with God Himself.
Sometimes when God has a task to be done, the assignment is given directly to an individual, such as to Jonah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Paul. At other times individuals were commissioned through human beings acting on God’s behalf. For instance, God told Moses to “Take Joshua…and lay your hand on him…and commission him…Give him some of your authority so the whole Israelite community will obey him” [Numbers 27:18-20 (NIV)]. This is what we do when we commission/ordain ministers, missionaries and deacons.
While some commissions involve public ceremony like I just mentioned, yet it can be assumed that any God-given task is a commission from on high. I believe God calls and commissions His followers to be Christian school teachers, Christian business men and women, Christian warehouse workers, Christian sales people, Christian parents, Christian neighbors, just as much as He calls and commissions some of His followers to be pastors. Your commission from God is just as real and just as important as mine. We are co-laborers together, sharing a co-mission with God. Wow, what a team to be on! I have God and you as my partner. Awesome! God has called you and I to be His partners. Unbelievable! But true!
And what are we commissioned to do? Expand God’s territory, that’s what. Through our membership in First Baptist and through our commissioned roles outside the church setting we are to be expanding God’s territory. God has commissioned us to Expand His territory in our hearts, in our home, in our church, in our communities, and in our world. So whether you are at the office, in the bleachers watching your child play ball, at a family get-together, eating out in a restaurant, on vacation, or whatever you may be involved in – you are on duty – on assignment – you and I should be focused on God, our ever present partner, and seeking ways to fulfill our co-mission with Him – expanding His territory.
It’s not just some county commissioners in Oklahoma who have disgraced the word “commission” for I do it consistently when I forget my responsibilities to the One who has commissioned me and fail to reach out to the ones He has sent me to touch for Him. Are you taking seriously you own co-mission with God?
On assignment – On mission