How much do you know about the New Testament character Luke? Here are three quick observations – two of which are fairly obvious; the third of which is less so, but vitally important:
- Luke was a doctor. You probably knew that. Although we don’t know if he was a specialist or a general practitioner, Colossians makes that clear.
- Luke was a historian/author. Like all other biblical writers, he wrote both Luke and Acts under the direction of the Holy Spirit of God (2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:20, 21). But part of that process of Holy Spirit guidance included Luke’s painstaking research.
So what is the third, less obvious observation?
- Luke participated regularly in short-term missions. You may ask how I know that. Having described the events of the first 15 chapters of Acts in third person form, there is a sudden change in Acts 16:10, “After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.” (Emphasis mine.) Luke traveled with the apostle Paul as part of this journey to Macedonia.
In reality, there are four “we sections” in the book of Acts: Acts 16:10–17; 20:5–15; 21:1–18; and 27:1– 28. At four different times, Luke set aside his occupation as a physician to engage first-hand in mission ministry. Luke did not allow himself to be limited by vocation and the busyness of life. He personally gave himself to the church’s mission by committing snippets of time to the church’s broader mission. Luke was willing to GO!
Your involvement in the mission of the church must include prayer that invites God to do great things and giving that supports others who are doing the work. But don’t neglect the responsibility and opportunity you have to personally participate by going. Go with the gospel to those in your own neighborhood and community. Free yourself up to go on a short-term trip that will take you beyond what is familiar to still others in need of Christ.