“Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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.” – Matthew 28:18-20

When it comes to missions work, we often think of places like Africa, Nicaragua, and Haiti. We forget that the Great Commission also includes reaching out to a neighbor down the street. Sharing truth with a friend at work. Giving an elderly woman named Georgia a ride in bitterly cold weather.

Two days ago, a massive line of tornadoes ripped through a town less than an hour away from where we live. Most of the area is still in shock and disbelief. What’s worse is that they’re not out of the danger zone. More thunderstorms are on the way. Even though I’ve seen several photos of the devastation, I cannot possibly imagine the confusion, pain, and hurt the people in Joplin are feeling.

With heaviness of heart, I’ve asked the Lord to show me what my response should be. In a matter of seconds, part of a city was completely wiped out. Hundreds of people lost their homes, loved ones, and some even lost their lives. How could I merely feel sad for them and yet do nothing?

One word keeps coming to my mind: Go.

Go into the living room, fall on your knees, and pray for the people in Joplin.

Go to the grocery store and buy non-perishable food items and toiletries. Take them to church tomorrow night so that the items can be delivered this weekend.

Go get your purse and write a check to the relief efforts.

As a follower of Jesus, I must get involved. This morning I signed up to be on a volunteer team with my church to travel to Joplin in the next few days. I don’t know if I’ll be called to participate, but I’m willing to serve if needed.

If you live in the Joplin, Missouri, area, I urge you to do what you can to provide assistance, whether it be through supplies or monetary donations. If you can physically travel to Joplin with a church or ministry organization, then by all means, do it. No matter where you live, though, you can still help. All of us can pray.

Ask God to pour out His love and comfort upon those affected by the tornadoes. Pray that people will be drawn to the Lord through this tragedy and that their hearts would not turn away from Him. Pray that people will be saved and that God would help them rebuild their city quickly.

God’s commandment to us in Matthew 28 is clear. We are to go to people and show them the love of Christ. What can you do today to fulfill the Great Commission?