I’ve grown up in and around the church. I’ve heard countless sermons. I’ve been spanked in the middle of Dad’s message. I’ve heard the snap of fingers from behind the piano as Mom played that caused me to stop dead in my mischievous tracks. I sang Father Abraham, This Little Light of Mine, Jesus Loves Me, and The B-I-B-L-E. I’ve heard every Bible story a thousand times. I’ve added the phrase “in the tub” to the end of every possible hymn title (“Leaning on the Everlasting Arms…in the tub.” I’ve also heard of alternative endings, such as “on the pot,” but that one scares me. I suppose any bathroom reference will do. Wait, no, strike that last remark). But through all this there was one thing I rarely, if ever, heard—the complete meaning of the Great Commission.
Mixed into all those never-ending sermons I listened (misbehaved) to, I heard a sprinkle about the Great Commission. Through those sprinkles, I understood that Jesus told us to go into all the world and preach the gospel (in the tub). It was always a mission-minded message. The Great Commission made clear the fact that we all had a responsibility to witness to our friends, neighbors, loved ones, and people in other countries. We were supposed to share the gospel and when we did, people would believe. But as I grew, I began to realize we were missing something from this message. There’s a whole lot more to the Great Commission than a mere mandate to witness (in the tub).
“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.” —Matt. 28:19, NIV
The idea I faintly heard while I was reading through the hymnal titles and adding “in the tub” to the end is undoubtedly in the Great Commission. We are to go and share the gospel. But IT DOES NOT END THERE. The NIV says we are to “make disciples.” That implies much more than mere witnessing and salvation (in the tub). And then it goes even further in verse 19: “Teaching them to obey….” We are to make disciples and teach, but we teach with purpose—we teach TO OBEY. Our teaching must bring about a change of behavior. Our teaching must actually affect the way we live. The only way to do that is to actually teach THE BIBLE. Nothing else can bring about true, lasting change (in the tub).
So, I am now convinced—the Great Commission is not merely about sharing the gospel message to the ends of the earth. It is about DISCIPLESHIP. It’s about what we do with people AFTER they believe. If we fail to effectively and INTENTIONALLY disciple believers, we are failing to fulfill the Great Commission. And that’s one command I’d rather not fail to fulfill (in the tub).
You know you did it too…When We All Get to Heaven (in the tub) Blessed Assurance (in the tub) He Abides (in the tub) Are You Washed in the Blood (in the tub) Crown Him With Many Crowns (in the tub) Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing (in the tub)
Now, you try. Name your favorite hymn in the comments and add your tagline.