One of the shortest and most common words in the English language is the conjunction “and.” It is probably considered inconsequential and insignificant, but it is far from that. In fact, "and" is a very little word that packs a very big punch! There is a lot of power in the word, “and.” It is often powerful to the point of being transformative. Consider these examples, and think of the difference the word “and” makes. Without the “and,” everything that follows would not be included.
For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost. — Luke 19:10
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. — John 1:1
For by grace you have been saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is a gift of God, not works, lest any man should boast. — Ephesians 2:8-9
I could go on forever with wonderful promises that would be cut short or even rendered impotent without the word “and.” Those are “ands” we really want we pay attention to! There are other verses where we seem to think the sentence has an “or” rather than an “and.” One of the clearest examples of this is found in Acts 1:8.
“For you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you,
and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea,
and in Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”
This passage of scripture is one in which we, far too often, neglect the power and significance of the word “and.” Many Christians believe this to be an important statement and try to live by it in some way. Often, however, we neglect the “ands” in this verse.
We tend to pick and choose where we will be witnesses of Jesus.
Some may choose Jerusalem, their local town or community, others may pick some larger area around them, or even an adjacent area. A few may choose some place difficult, and even fewer choose the remotest places on the planet.
But how many of us really are obedient to what Jesus said? Many are not intentional in witnessing, and those who are, probably practice Acts 1:8 incompletely. We live as if Jesus said we should pick a place….either Jerusalem, OR Judea, OR Samaria, OR the remotest place on earth. Jesus said “and.”
Our responsibility is to those who are closest to us, those who are farthest from us, those who are easiest, those who are the most difficult, AND everyone in between.
We would never think we could choose between loving God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, OR loving our neighbor as ourselves. In the same way, let’s make sure we are fulfilling the command so the whole world hears the message of the Gospel. We have a responsibility for those around us, AND all those around the world!