God’s Heart Is for Reconciliation
Posted on February 27, 2023 by Jon Trotter
Rachel draws people closer to Christ through organizing and leading worship for JMU college ministry gatherings.
Do we truly believe that God is the primary agent of mission? If I’m being transparent, I don’t think that I actually believed this until I was invited to reflect on it for this article. We can’t fully believe in something unless we have some sort of an understanding of what we’re attempting to believe.
As a graduate student, I’ve learned that simple definitions best help me with understanding difficult (or even easy) statements. An agent can be defined as a person who acts on behalf of another person or group. To be primary is to simply be first in rank. To believe that “God is the primary agent of mission” is to believe that God is the ultimate actor in advancing his kingdom here on earth.
When I begin to ponder the sovereignty of God, I realize that God doesn’t really need me or any of us. That statement must be hard for any of us who struggle with pride. However, God leading this mission helps me acknowledge that he doesn’t need us to accomplish his plans, but rather, God invites us to partner with him. Personally, this demolishes any ounce of pride in my heart that tries to make disciples without Christ’s partnership. This also allows me to rest in the fact that I don’t have to be in control.
Rachel Janney (third from right) with worship team members at Divine Unity Community Church, Harrisonburg, Va. Photo courtesy of Rachel Janney
The mission of God is to call all people back to himself, through the saving grace of Jesus Christ our Lord. Every single person on this earth needs Jesus so that we can be reconciled to the Father and take our rightful place as his adopted sons and daughters. God wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth (1 Timothy 2:4). The heartbeat of his mission is stated in Matthew 28:19-20 when Jesus says to his disciples, “Therefore go 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 I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (NIV).
When I read through the Bible, I see that God’s heart has always been for his people to be reconciled with him. Throughout the Old Testament, we read stories about how God is constantly calling humanity back to himself. Psalms 53 is a solid example of God’s loyal pursuit. Another example is the Lord’s covenant promise to David in 1 Chronicles 17, which promises us that Jesus is the Son of David and that his kingdom will last forever.
God doesn’t need us to accomplish his plans, but rather, he invites us to partner with him.
The truth is that God has been faithful to his people. God radically loves us with a love that is eternal (Jeremiah 31:3). Better yet, the whole Bible points to the one who will reconcile us with God forever. Our lives have been forever changed by this reconciliation, which everyone deserves to know about.
God’s mission has helped me understand that I no longer live for myself. Growing up, I was never taught that God’s heart was for all people to be saved. I was only focused on my own life and making sure I didn’t end up in hell. But God radically changed my heart for God’s people when I got to college. I now understand that I live to enhance the kingdom of God here on earth.
I was reminded that God’s mission is bigger than mine when God called me to stay in Harrisonburg after college to do ministry. I knew that God had been calling me to vocational ministry since I was saved in 2017. However, I continually ran away from God’s call to ministry and missions simply because I didn’t want to live a life that didn’t immediately benefit me.
In her tranSend assignment, she organizes and leads worship for college ministry gatherings at James Madison University, also in Harrisonburg, Va. Photo courtesy of Rachel Janney
As I grew in my walk with the Lord, Christ called me to repent from approaching my life and my decisions from this perspective. A question that I now reflect on when I’m making big decisions is, “Which option will allow me to make the most disciples?” God’s mission should always be greater than our personal mission.
God’s mission will forever be my mission, and should forever be our mission—to partner with God in advancing his kingdom here on earth. As we continue to pursue missions in our various vocations, I encourage you to let God lead your pursuit. It’s my prayer that as God’s people, we would never lose sight of this. May we feel comforted, supported, and encouraged by the leadership of our Lord.
In partnership with Every Nation Campus, Rachel Janney serves as a worship leader for college ministry gatherings at James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Va.