EDITOR’S NOTE: This column by Frank S. Page, president of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee, is part of the call to prayer for revival and spiritual awakening he has issued to our churches for the nation and world.
NASHVILLE (BP) — On the eve of our 238th anniversary as a free country, we must stop and thank God for all He has done for us.
I’ve traveled this year to Canada and several European countries to represent Southern Baptists in various meetings. Even though the cities I visited were beautiful with their own charm and distinct qualities, it is always good to return home and thank God for the U.S.A.
As America seems to follow Canada and Europe on the slope of many cultural values, we must ever be vigilant about what is happening in those places, particularly in regard to loss of religious freedom and the erosion of the influence of Christians and the church. That said, we continue to thank God for all He has done.
Giving thanks for the blessings we enjoy should not make us slack in our resolve of taking a spiritual inventory and seeing the reality of what is happening across our nation — in every state, every community and every neighborhood.
Matthew 9:35-38 records Jesus’ deep emotion, in that He was “moved with compassion for them” when He saw the people of Galilee scattered as sheep not having a shepherd. How our nation has become like that! How desperately we need a Savior! How desperately we need awakening in our churches and lives to see the need for the great and good Shepherd, our Lord Jesus Christ!
Our Good Shepherd has given us a Great Commandment. He has also given us a Great Commission.
The Great Commandment is recorded in Matthew 22:37-29. It clearly commands us how we should love our Lord. This love should be all encompassing. It should change who we are, how we live, and how we act and think. We need a Great Commandment revival! When that happens, we can also have a Great Commission resurgence.
I like to say it this way. When we have a great commandment revival, we can have a great commission resurgence. We can build a strong home base of love for the Lord and love for one another that changes who we are, strengthens our churches, and then propels us into an aggressive global vision of reaching the entire world for Christ.
During this celebration weekend of July 4th, let us set aside a time alone with the Lord to ponder what really matters. Let us ask the Lord of the Harvest to stir our hearts in such a way that we exercise the Great Commandment mandate and experience a Great Commission revival.
Multitudes are still lost. They are still scattered as sheep having no Shepherd. When we love as He loves, can we do anything less than earnestly entreat Him to let us be part of the laboring force He sends into the harvest?
Let us so pray!
Frank S. Page is president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee. BP reports on missions, ministry and witness advanced through the Cooperative Program and on news related to Southern Baptists’ concerns nationally and globally.