Article Published: Beginning at the End

Imagine this scenario. A revered CEO stands up in front of his eleven Vice Presidents and gives a riveting speech to them. He speaks articulately and succinctly while capturing every tidbit of their imaginations. He speaks with passion and gives them a mission to carry out in the future. Every word echoes around the room and reverberates in the heads of those listening. They take notes and compare their notes to make sure they scribed every word perfectly. He then walks out the door, leaves the building and is tragically killed while driving to a lunch meeting. His followers’ last memory of him is this riveting speech, and the eleven men in the room leave that day to devote the rest of their lives to living and carrying out the words that leader spoke. They promote their mission everywhere they go and expand their organization to become the longest lasting, fastest expanding, most controversial, most life changing organization in human history, complete with the most patriotic and dedicated employees the world has ever seen. They literally infiltrate every aspect of every segment of every world culture. And it starts with one, 61-word speech.
It seems like a far-fetched scenario in today’s world. We are so oversaturated with communication, preaching and advertisements, that the spoken word’s power is diluted. We like to analyze the phonetics of speech, without taking to heart the long-lasting meaning of words. Mission statements are bantered about, posted on beautiful and colorful plaques, and hidden away on the wall of the organization’s waiting room. Do they actually get taken to heart? How many people can quote their organization’s mission, let alone live it out? We know the power of words, but we rarely live out the power of those words.
The farewell discourse of Matthew 28 describes nearly this exact scenario. After Jesus is resurrected, He returned to His disciples for a few moments, talked to them, and then left shortly after. He summed up His entire ministry in a few actions and words and started the greatest and longest lasting revolution in human history. These 61 words form the mission statement of the early church:
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, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age (Matthew 28:18-19, NRSV).

If you want to read more, check out my article that was recently published in the American Journal of Biblical Theology. Article can be downloaded by clicking here.

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About Tim Vanderpyl
I am a student of leadership and human resources, and I'm blogging to share some of my thoughts and ideas with readers. I'm a CHRP (Certified Human Resource Professional) at a large healthcare organization, a graduate of Regent University's Doctor of Strategic Leadership program, and lover of the life that God has gifted me with.

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