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Divine Presence to the Very End of the Age (by Dr Phillip Marshall)

"And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." Matthew 28:20

The Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) has spoken to many women and men with a passion for global mission over the centuries. It ends with a beautiful promise by Jesus: "And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

This is much more than a "BTW" (By The Way) or a "P.S." It is a word from God to His people that, as we go about His Kingdom Business, we are assured of Jesus' presence, protection, provision and power.

The business climate is always full of uncertainties, and especially now with Covid-19. Where can we invest our time. energy, resources and money to be assured of a good return? Jesus says that investing wisely in God's Kingdom will always have a good return on investment (see Mark 10:29-31). Jesus' words come with an eternal guarantee!

This raises two questions. Firstly, why does He give us this guarantee of blessings? Secondly, why do so few of us take Jesus at His word? The answer to both questions is the same: the Christian life of walking in the way of Jesus is radical, and the guarantee He gives is to sustain us on the journey. It requires daily, lifelong following along paths that take us beyond our comfort zone. In Mark 10. Jesus assures His disciples of blessings during this life... "along with persecutions" (v.30) He added that "many who are first will be last, and the last first" (v.31). These words form a reality check for you and me.

Days before the Covid-19 lockdown, my wife Diane and I moved our residence from Singapore to Australia. We did not know then that our mission lifestyle would radically alter as international travel became impossible. We put our existing house up for sale and found a smaller one more suited to future ministry. We had to apply to the bank for a bridging loan - "just in case". There was zero risk to the bank. Yet we were rejected! Why? Because our income and spending did not conform to that of the average citizen. Our financial statements revealed to the bank that those of us on low incomes and Kingdom lifestyles are not an "acceptable risk".

Well, God made a way for us, as He has done for many years. Jesus' promise to be with us "always, to the very end of the age" as we go about His business was vindicated. I am not saying that a happy outcome is a necessary sign of God's presence and blessing - in business, in health, or in relationships. Rather, I hope this story encourages you to look for Jesus' presence and blessings in the everyday matters of life as you follow Him.

ABOUT THE WRITER DR PHILLIP MARSHALL is a medical doctor by training He and his wife Diane were sent by their church in Sydney to Peru for 15 years with children Joshua Rebekah and Luke servering with SIM (Serving in Mission) in theological education, church leadership training and mission leadership. Thereafter, he was based in Australia, facilitating SIM's global response to HIV & AIDS. He is currently a lecturer in Mission Studies and Old Testament at Moring Theological College

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