Just hours before His arrest and brutal death, Jesus shared some final thoughts with His closest followers. One of the sentences that He spoke to His apostles contains applicable truth that every missionary needs to have spoken to them on a regular basis.
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.
– John 15:16
Jesus had gathered His apostles in an upper room to celebrate the passover meal. He knew that in a few hours He would be arrested, given a trial that was a complete mockery of justice, beaten severely, and then crucified. Because He knew these things would be happening, He used their final meal together to reconfirm some of the truths He had already taught them, along with teaching them new truths that they were hearing for the very first time.
And even though He had already shared with them at different times and in different ways what was about to happen, what actually unfolded over the next few hours and days caught the apostles and most of His other disciples completely by surprise.
Although everything that He spoke to them during the meal was important, I would like to zero in on what I believe are crucial truths that every missionary should not only understand but also internalize and then be encouraged by.
(And I’d like to challenge you to insert your name every time you see the word “missionary” below, as if you and I were face to face over a cup of coffee or tea or a big glass of lemonade, and I was taking you personally through these life and ministry transforming truths.)
FIRST–Missionary, understand the reality that you did not choose Him. Oh you did make a choice but that choice was only in response to having already been chosen by Him. You have been chosen by your Creator and Redeemer to be in a real, personal, and interactive relationship with Him.
SECOND–Missionary, He not only chose you, but He appointed you, He assigned you, He SET you apart so that you should GO! You were chosen to GO! And you actually went. Be encouraged, this is no small thing. Your obedience to His appointment of you TO GO is a huge proclamation of His worth and value–He has been glorified through you.
THIRD–Missionary, be confident that you were not only chosen and appointed to go, (which you’ve obediently done), but that you are also bearing fruit. The fruit that your obedience is enabling to happen is diverse. For example, the Godliness of your attitude in different situations has increased, your righteous behavior is expressing itself in new and God-glorifying ways, and you have played a significant role in others coming to know and love Jesus.
FOURTH–Missionary, contrary to what you’ve experienced or what you might be feeling, trust Jesus when He tells you that your fruit will remain! The fruit that He has produced in you and through you because of His choosing and appointing you go, and your willingness to obey, will endure the test of time. Your efforts have borne fruit in time that will continue on into eternity.
FIFTH–Missionary, take seriously the final instruction that Jesus gives to you in this verse. Because all of what He just said is true, and because you have taken Him at His word and have moved forward and are living as if it’s true, then be assured that whatever you ask the Father in Jesus name, the Father will give you.
Join with me in amazement at the reality that Jesus encourages you to ask the Father “whatever” you desire and to ask it in His name.
Apparently, He has seen enough of Himself in your life and through your obedience to Him and His calling on your life, to trust you with bringing “whatever” is on your heart to the Father, and to bring it IN HIS NAME.
Please don’t hesitate to take advantage of His trust in you. Go ahead and ask the Father “whatever” Jesus has placed upon your heart and ask it in Jesus name.