What makes us all so different? What is it that separates us from one another? It seems that, as a country, we choose to use the freedom we are granted as citizens to be different from each other – to be unique. We relish our personal displays of individuality here in America, but with this individualism so deeply ingrained in our culture, how do we become ONE?
I recently traveled to Jackson, MS, to visit a mentor of mine, an exemplary man that I aim to emulate in my own every day life, Dr. John Perkins. Upon my arrival, Dr. Perkins, now 87 years old, immediately invited me to join him in reading Proverbs 1. He commented that the words spoken in the Proverb are words relevant today even in the “hip hop” culture, reflecting God’s way of continually finding ways to placing those that you may disciple on your path every day.
Just over 30 years ago I found myself on Dr. Perkin’s path, a turn of events that greatly influenced my own life and walk with the Lord, for he has walked with God and made Him known for more than 60 years. As we sat there at his table, drinking coffee and eating bananas, I thought to myself “nothing could be better than sitting here with this great man of wisdom who has such amazing knowledge of God’s word.”
Tracy on a recent visit with John Perkins
While it is hard to lose the ones we love, I pray that heaven is filling with those people I have met and lost in my past 35 years of ministry. I remind myself that this journey we are on is ultimately about the Great Commission and the Great Commandment – it is about walking with all nations from womb to tomb. We never know whom we touch in our life, but we know we are to make disciples; we are to make disciples through the reconciling of people to God for eternity and to one another for peace in this world. Thus, I felt comfort remembering the excitement I felt watching 10 children from the group we took form a new relationship with Christ during my time at the Kids Across America Kamp.
Ultimately, I am excited to continue learning and understanding the Gospel ministry of making disciples of all nations. While we keep our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, I hope to also show my faith to others by viewing them through the eyes of justice and loving them with the heart of righteousness. Today, I aim to live in His image and His likeness; that which is righteous, holy and true. I will pursue reconciliation here and now, and I believe that together we can accomplish the mission of God for all nations.
”We never know whom we touch in our life, but we know we are to make disciples; we are to make disciples through the reconciling of people to God for eternity and to one another for peace in this world.
Throughout my visit we spent time discussing his new book, “One Blood” and how it may be used as a textbook for future generations, guiding them toward reconciliation. In his book Dr. Perkins states, “Biblical reconciliation is the removal of tension between parties and the restoration of loving relationship.” This ministry of reconciliation is what the Lord has told us to do while we are here on Earth. Reconciliation is the Great Commandment expressed in real time, brought to life through “the making of disciples,” the great commission to all nations. This undertaking may clearly be seen in both Dr. Perkins’ book as well as his journey through life, a journey that has greatly inspired my own life and ministry.
As I left Dr. Perkins, I thought to myself “the longer I follow my Lord, the more I want to know and understand Him.” I began to reflect on my own journey and relationship with the Lord, recalling my most recent trip to Missouri for Kids Across America this past June. While there, I learned of the deaths of two men who had been my disciples as children back in the ‘80s. One, Pastor Milton, was 47 years old when he died after a long battle with leukemia and several years as a pastor at a local church. The other was a man who had a hard life and had passed away at age 45 due to a heart attack. As my disciple of 6 years, we had grown very close before I left Chicago and I was granted the honor of speaking at his funeral.