“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 everything I have commanded you.
And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
What Making Disciples Looks Like When God Says “Stay”
My parents came to visit one weekend and just before leaving, my dad leaned in to share some words of encouragement with me. He said, “Every day I pray your words will touch women’s hearts who will touch their families who will touch their communities who will touch the world.”
Tears came to my eyes as I nodded and thought, “Yes, that’s exactly it.”
When we think about going into all the world and making disciples it’s easy to assume we need to change our location.
But when we see it as only that, we misunderstand the holy ripple effect of God’s love. We miss how the smile we offer to the cashier can later be passed along to the weary nurse, who’s grabbing lunch, and help give her the strength to hold the hand of someone we’ll never meet as they battle cancer.
We don’t know how the kind word we speak to a friend will give her the courage she needs when she goes on the business trip to another continent and has a chance to answer the unexpected question, “What’s so different about you?”
We will probably never see — this side of heaven — how being obedient in the here-and-now can wondrously go on and on through generations to someday make a difference in the then-and-there.
So if you’re in a season where what God is whispering to your heart is not “move” but “stay,” know that it doesn’t mean your reach is any less. It’s not any less spiritual. It’s not any less filled with potential and purpose.
We serve a God who is not boxed in by time, circumstances, or geography. He is everywhere, all the time, with everyone. His work in and through us is wild, mysterious and unlimited. And in any given moment, if we want to know the best place to start sharing His love, all we need to do is look down at the ordinary, sacred ground right beneath our feet.
How do you make disciples in your everyday ordinary?
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
I am encouraged when I see the stats on my little blog. It reaches, thanks to technology, places that, to my embarrassment, I am not quite sure where they are on a global map. Every day I pray, morning and night, for those readers that God would touch them where they are and reveal His great love to them…that they would come to a relationship with Jesus Christ. I don’t how my writing affects them, but I leave that up to the Holy Spirit. But, like you said, we don’t have to go somewhere else to fulfill the Great Commission. A kind word aptly spoken to the right person in our everyday ordinary lives can be a seed from which a mighty oak can grow. May I/we choose our words by examining how they increase God’s Kingdom. Great post!
Chris Hall says
I am so grateful that this wonderful post was the first email that greeted me on this early Sunday a.m. How wonderfully the providences of God keep blindsiding me! Before opening this this email I had been in deep meditation about how delightful my everyday ministry is. The profound satisfaction I find in the small kindnesses that I share with my neighbors, family and friends as I go about my day. It is a wonderful thing to be so present and undistracted in sharing my love for each individual. My life is a ministry. My words are purposeful and encouraging. My heart is in each gesture. There is nothing more fulfilling than sharing my love for God, for giving to others what he has so graciously bestowed upon me. The more I give the greater the abundance of joy in my heart. How can I ever stop singing of his great love for me? His love pursues and overtakes me. I am well-filled.
Joyce Miller says
Joanna @ Modern Ruth Project says
Wonderful post! I agree wholeheartedly. So often we are willing to pay large amounts of money and travel halfway around the world to show love to people, when we have not learned to love our neighbors right beside us! If only we could remember that God has placed us right here where we are for a reason – the here and now is our mission field. Best wishes!
Angela Antunes Bernardino says
That´s a deep word, for sure!
Ginger Daniel says
What an awesome Dad! And what a world changer – our sphere of influence is right in front of us! Thx for the confirmation of what I’m sharing all the time. Have a great day!!
What a new perspective on this often preached on verse. I have often felt guilty because I didn’t feel the call to leave my comfort zone. Thank you for a new look at this verse!
This comes at a perfect time, when I have been invited to go to Ugsnda (a dream of mine) next month but God has gently said. “Not yet.” I homeschool four of my five children, three of who have learning difficulties. To disrupt the first month of the school year would be unfair to them. Yes…we could put off beginning our year but God has given me this task of teaching them and tells me this, this little mission field in my home, is my first priority. I struggle when I see other moms going on incredible mission trips and being world-changers, wishing I could have that freedom and excitement. So this was exactly what I needed, to focus on the mission work of the every day. Thank you.
Holley, I didn’t know how desperately I needed this. As a failed missionary, who’s desperately wanted to go on church plants but hasn’t been able to, as a mom of very littles, I just forget this. It’s hard to not feel less special, less chosen, less important, and less loved. My heart seems to forget every chance it gets. Thank you for this.
You are surely not a failed missionary! You are “planting churches” when you minister to each of your little ones in your own home!! Each of them will become a dwelling place for the Holy Spirit because of the love you pour out to them! Enjoy this time and be encouraged that you are indeed doing a great work right where you are!!
Anne Marie says
Thank you so much for this inspiration!
WOW! I Never had something, speak so wonderful to me! Thank you, I so ,needed this today!
Rachel Barrentine says
Love this! Thank you. Pauses are not without purpose. Staying is sometimes the most holy thing we can do!
Beth Williams says
God is telling me to “stay” in this season of life. I make disciples by visiting my dad daily at the rehab center. I spend a few hours and listen to him, help him with food, and if he wants to take him for a walk. While there I talk to some of the nursing home residents. I give them a smile & hi to brighten their days. I find this is my mission for now. Soon He will be going back to his assisted living and I will talk with the residents there and give them hugs. Everyone needs a hug and a smile!
Laura King says
Bless you, Beth! You are doing the Lord’s work, the Lord’s way. You are being the hands and feet of Jesus, in places that can be the most neglected. You are an answer to prayer for those praying for loved ones confined far away. Oh to have more like you! Thank you!!
Allie Pepper says
Thank you Holley for sharing this incredible, yet simple, message of how a smile from each of us can possibly make such a positive difference in unsuspecting persons we come in contact with in our daily lives and then be carried on time and time again throughout the world. Thank you also for sharing that very special hug and endearing moment you had with your dad. How incredible those words from him had to make you feel! You are reaching so many women (youth and men) through this in-courage.me post and I am very grateful that I found you. I am excited and enlightened each time I am able to read your words. I have shared your post with family, friends, and many others on FB and Pinterest. May God continue to enrich your life and illuminate your mind.
Much love and virtual hugs from S. Arkansas.
Megan Ellis says
Thank you Holley. Sometimes we search too hard when it is right in front of us. I know I do. This is a beautiful presentation. Just know your dad’s prayers are successful :o>
Thank you Holley for that beautiful remark from your father, his affirmation of who you are and what you do was worth so much!
In the past few months I have been amazed at the earnest thank yous I have received in supermarkets simply because I moved my shopping cart out of an aisle to make room for a person in a rolling chair/cart, or reached a product for someone else who wasn’t close to it due to the crush. One woman; younger than I, but “senior” leaned from the chair/cart and touched my arm and said, “we need to pray for people to be courteous again.”
Your message on staying where God has us for now and being His light to whoever He places in our path is a blessing for my morning. I am so blessed to have (in)courage to read first thing every morning. And I read them over during the week to follow the comments. Yours is a ministry of blessing.
Cynthia Bell says
To God be the Glory! Thank you for the (in) couragement! God bless you!!!
Rebecca L Jones says
Hi Holley, What a wonderful father! What a blessing! I too, hope my words encourage women. I laughed the other day that I had few positive comments from men as well. Whether our calling is large or small, we all have an opportunity to bless someone everyday.
Lynn Lewis says
I needed this!! Thank you so much for these thoughts for this quiet season of my life.
Wish i could share this on facebook!
Pearl Allard says
Thank you, Holley. Being a stay-at-home mom of littles in this culture isn’t upheld or glamorous. The pull to do just about anything but my assignment, even (especially) church things, is strong. I needed this today. Thank you.
Sally Ferguson says
So often, I think my sphere has shrunk, as I am a caregiver for my dad. But God uses every season for His glory. And He is doing a new work in my attitude, response and opportunities. So, don’t think you’re not contributing, if you don’t have a huge success story. The Lord is using you, right where He’s placed you!
Diane Miller says
“We serve a God who is not boxed in by time, circumstances, or geography. ” Thanks for that reminder of my limited thinking, and the greatness of God, Holley.
Love this, thanks for your encouragement. I manage a team and don’t often get to see our people first hand, but I am inspired that my encouragement of my team will bless others by default.
The world is now coming to us! We are community volunteers with a local University to their growing international student population. If not at a University, I’m sure most communities have some international families…I encourage you to befriend one!
Linda W Perkins says
Holley, you really hit the nail on the head! I had a conversation with a friend recently and she expressed surprise that my husband and I were buying some property about an hour from where we currently live. We like the idea of being in a smaller town, rather than the big city, and we are excited about the prospect of moving there after my daughter gets through school. My friend said, “But I thought you wanted to do missionary work?” My response was exactly what you expressed in your post. “I’m already doing it!” I have a blog and just started writing for Christianity Today and some other publications. I don’t need to even leave my house in order to be a missionary! What a gift. From the time I was saved, I always dreamed of being a missionary. God has given me a way of fulfilling that dream in ways I could have never imagined. And since my husband has no interest in moving overseas, that’s very good! I don’t have to choose between him and my calling. 🙂 Thank you for your most excellent message today!
Oh yes! This is the message we need to share over and over. Some are called to go, but more are called to stay. I needed this reminder and encouragement just now.
Michele B says
My husband and I have been wondering if we should move from our neighborhood. We have been house searching to no avail. I was giving God peramaters on how He should let us know if a house was right for us or not. Can you imagine, I was telling God! I will be honest with you, I do not always read your blog. Today I did and today God spoke to me. Thank you for passing the words along. God will always answer – His way!
God bless you always, Michele
Jackie Hull says
Years ago, a wise woman spoke “what leaves a heart reaches a heart”. Holley, your thoughts about Matthew 28:19 not only reached my heart but spoke a new freedom to be who I am today right here, right now. Thank you for sharing the wisdom God has given you with all of us.
You are so on point with your words here, Holley. For me, I think that seeking to listen well to those I intersect with so I can be observant of how and what the Lord may have me say or do, is one of the key things. When others sense I really “see” them and hear their hearts even beyond or behind the words, it is then I think Jesus is likely more present in me. (It is also when I most sense Him in others to me.) His gift was of being that with those He intersected with. I fail often, but in my own life those everyday things have often touched me more than a formal discipleship program. A recent example happened last night. I have been helping our daughter with her home and family following a serious back surgery for her youngest daughter (our granddaughter) for the past several weeks. We live 350 miles apart. Last night a friend of mine who doesn’t know my daughter at all stopped on her way to family an hour away to bring us all a full-course wonderful dinner. She was here only briefly, but asked insightful questions, offered hugs, prayer, love, etc. She has gone through the serious illness and death of a daughter and the Lord has used that to bring a deep sensitivity to her. She was very much Jesus to us as she traveled 350 miles for a short 30 minute visit and encouragement in more than one way.
Thank you so much! Just what I needed today!
Crystal Storms says
Holley, your words line up with the message I heard at church about loving your neighbor. On this side of heaven, we may not see the ripple effect of a small kindness. But we can trust nothing is wasted.
P.S. Love the prayer your father prays over you. : )
Very encouraging. Thank you!
PY Pyshora says
Morning Holley…And “GOD WINKED” once again… Thank you for reinforcing my love of mixed ages of people in my own home/church…In my Vintage years I have been having a difficult time in seeing and experiencing the separation of the generations. My personal family is scattered from NY, Ohio, Minnesota, California to Honolulu and little or no communication is happening. 🙁 Yesterday I spoke to our young Pastor who works with college students and told him I really want to help with ‘mixing’ up the generations so that we can experience God’s great love for all of us in a ‘family’ that can be loving and supportive of all. I believe that this ‘mission’ needs to be expanded to bring the love of Christ to be shared and experienced all!.
Thank you for this encouraging post.
I love how God gives you a scripture and you can put a new light on it, always a FRESH WORD He gives you to share with the world. You are a Blessing my sweet sister.
I am reminded of the young mother who was concerned that she did not have a “mission” field as did her friends. A wise teacher pointed to the young mother’s children and said, “Here is your mission field for now!”
This is a wonderful post, Holley! My husband and I have been seeking help from the good Lord on whether to stay or find another place to live. As each day passes, it is clear He wants us to stay. There are many people to reach out to and some have reached out to us. It is wonderful to serve a god who is with us always, even to the end.
Thank you Holley. Yes it’s true. I was visiting someone from our church. I chose a vase that had been decorated in the Children’s Craft day this week and took it with me. I talked to others – one remembered how the person would have had an important community job had she not become sick; another said there should be a flower in the vase and another proceeded to find one. So I took these tokens with me. The person was hugely uplifted to know others remembered and cared.
My daughter and I were talking about this very thing just yesterday. How “missions” doesn’t always have to mean going overseas. We can share the love of Jesus right where we are, and, in fact, in Acts, chapter 1, the disciples were told they would be witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and all the world. Jerusalem (the local place) wasn’t any less important than all the world. It is a privilege to be used by the Lord wherever he can use us.
Patti @ Embracing Home
Kathy Sodestrom says
I only hope some of you will be able to see this as a continuing encouragement to you ~ i turn 60 this year and have been going to Uganda every other year for the past 8 years and now God has blessed us with a fantastic ministry to finish strong as full time missionaries though home based to travel now three times a year. We hope to pass on our love for our friends and new Christians in rural villages onto the next generation of missionaries over the next 10-15 years working with nationals. But it wouldn’t have been possible if God hadn’t used those early times of preparing us through mission work with our children, our family members, our camp work in our community, & later mission in other short term parts of the world. So take heart, keep doing what He has called you to do Today! You never know when God will call you to let go, call you you to to your Yes, Lord ~ i’ll do “Anything” to perhaps the exciting most uttermost parts of the world!