By Ryan Diaz
In Genesis 12, God formed a covenant with Abraham. As the covenant unfolded through the following chapters, God promised to bless Abraham and raise up a nation as numerous as the stars through his family (Genesis 15:5, 22:17). But God’s covenant blessing wouldn’t just apply to Abraham and his children. Through Abraham, God also promised to bless the nations. From the beginning, God identified Himself as a missional God, operating through human agents to achieve His purposes.
When the psalmist blessed the people in Psalm 67, he turned the people’s attention outward to the nations. Israel’s blessing was meant to extend beyond them. The fruit of God’s blessing was never meant for His people alone. If God is a missional God, then His people must be missional, a priestly remnant, mediating God’s grace and presence to those around them.
Often this reality is lost on us. Much of our modern Christian experience centers on the self. We are consumers through and through, desperate to get what is good for ourselves while neglecting the needs of those around us. You even hear it in the pews:
“It’s just God and me.”
“I’m here for my blessing.”
In centering our Christian experience on ourselves, we can cease to be missional, unintentionally gatekeeping the blessing of God from those around us. The individuality that dominates our understanding of God would be foreign to the writers of Scripture. The root of Jesse is “a banner for the people,” not only the Savior of individual souls. In Isaiah 11, God gathered His people to Himself, restoring that which was divided in the garden, creating for Himself one people of God.
But God is not in the business of working alone. He is calling each and every one of us to participate in His redemptive work. We can’t circle the wagons. Our salvation is not simply about us. It is about the spread of God’s rule and reign through creation as His people live out the reality of his kingdom. How each of us partners with God’s mission, well, that’s up for each of us to discern. But what we cannot do is retreat inward and hoard His blessing for ourselves. The blessing only spreads as we each do our part, working to the margins and toward those often forgotten.