Isn't this how we often feel about outreach and mission? The challenges are real and intimidating. How do we begin? Where do we begin?
We know that the problem is not Jesus'. In fact, at the end of the Gospel of Matthew, when he challenged us to make disciples of all nations, he also promised to be with us. He equips us to do what he called us to do.
So the problem is not one of ability, but of scope and scale. We need to see the smaller pictures within the big picture and begin from there.
Imagine working on a puzzle. When you look at the box cover, you see the big picture that you will be completing. But when you dump out the pieces, you wonder how you will ever be able to recreate the big picture! The answer, however, is simple: you recreate the "big picture" one piece at a time.
We accomplish Jesus' mission the same way: one piece at a time. We work with the pieces we have. We begin with family members, with one friend or coworker at a time, or in one network at a time. We build out from there, following Jesus' instructions in Matthew 10 and 28.
The apostle Paul understood this concept and wrote about it in terms of an "area of influence" (ESV). He mentions this idea twice in 2 Corinthians 10:12-18, referring to the "sphere of service" God gave him (10:13, NIV) and his "sphere of activity" among them (10:15, NIV). He hopes that this sphere of activity will expand so he can continue working in new areas.
What he means is, he is working with the puzzle pieces God gave him. As he works piece-by-piece, the bigger picture comes together.
We fulfill Jesus' mission to make disciples by working in the areas of influence God gave us. As we do so, our areas of influence expand, and more people are reached. Imagine such a mission, expanding outward, among all nations!
What is your area of influence? What are your spheres of service and activity?