I normally don't share posts, but it's the day after Super Tuesday so I have a right to share whatever I want. Right? Not really. Don't worry. It has nothing to do with politics. It's not that our political scene isn't something to think about, but what I read this morning from an unnamed friend working in an unnamed region of the world seems more important.
The following is from that friend:
"What is today? Well, that depends on who you are. If you are into politics it's "the day after Super Tuesday". If nothing much happened for you yesterday, then today is just "Wednesday". But, if you had something important happen to you yesterday then today is the day after whatever that was. For me, today is "the day after 'Jimmy' died". Actually, it's 3:48 A.M. on "the day after 'Jimmy' died".
In fact, I can hardly help but be struck by the contrast between what I was doing yesterday and what "Jimmy" was doing yesterday. And what he's doing today. Even the topic of conversation with our friends last night about their having to leave a church they helped start stands in stark contrast to "Jimmy's" situation. Building a little kingdom in the name of Christ and playing church while literally thousands of ethnic groups go to hell, is in part why I can't sleep right now.
I know that what I am about to do is somewhat old-school. But, it's not something I hear a lot. In fact, I'm not really sure when the last time I actually heard someone make a clarion appeal for more missionaries. "My life is my business" isn't just something that the world believes. It's something that the church believes. It's not popular in our culture to ever speak in a way that would ever make other people feel uncomfortable. Speaking of whole ethnic groups going to hell unless someone goes and tells them about the Lord Jesus isn't exactly a comfortable message to hear, or to give.
I'll add my caveat on the front-end that I value the whole body of Christ and the exercise of the individual gifts meant to build her up, but that valuing of the whole body doesn't lessen the need we have for people to GO! Nor does it lessen our responsibility, as those who have watched person after person crash over life's edge into a Christ-less eternity knowing that the same thing was being repeated countless thousands of times around the world, to relay a crystal clear message of the need that is out there. This only reflects the Lord's heart who said,
"Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, 'Behold, we did not know this,' does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? (Proverbs 24:11,12)
So, here is our appeal:
"It has been some 2000 years since Christ commissioned His church to take the gospel to the nations and several thousand years more since he told Abraham that it was through his offspring (Christ) that he would bless the nations, yet here we are. Conservatively, there are still some 2000 ethnic groups in need of hearing a clear gospel presentation.
So, where is the break-down? Where is the glitch? Is it because of lack of funds? Is it a lack of information? Is it because God isn't moving in His church? Has He ceased to speak to His people? Or is it that we are distracted by other things and have stopped listening to what He's already said? Might it just be that we know the cost of going and we consider the cost too high?
You see, if you decide to go and be a part of reaching ONE of those ethnic groups it will cost you the best years of your life. It will likely take you 20 years to translate the Scriptures and see a church established. Whatever your "dream" had been for your life, that is the price you will pay. If you were planning on making a career of being an engineer or a lawyer or an architect, reaching an ethnic group will cost you that dream. Your life isn't long enough to do both. People don't want to pay that price and so here we are.
Perhaps your dream hasn't been in the secular world. Perhaps your dream has been to be involved in the church in America. If you decide to give your life to reach ONE of these ethnic groups it will cost you the security of a well-paying pastor's salary, with medical insurance thrown in. You will likely have an income that varies from month to month and get to pay your own health insurance, your own social security, your own retirement and your own ministry expenses. Rather than standing up in front of a large congregation that shakes your hand at the end of the service, grateful for the silver tongue that God has blessed you with, you will likely be speaking to a small group of dirty people in a language that is not your own. When you come home on furlough you will often be given the "missions moment" in the main service and perhaps an adult Sunday school class to share in. Then you can sit down in the plush sanctuary and watch the guy you dreamed of being open the Word and expound it to an eager crowd. You probably won't have time to write a book. Nor will anyone be calling you up to have you come talk to them about church growth since you are lucky to have 50 people at any given church service. The years you spent learning Hebrew and Greek in seminary can be used to translate the Scriptures into a minority ethnic language, but those people won't be impressed that you know how to read some funny looking symbols. People don't want to pay that price and so here we are.
If you decide to go, you may get sick. Your kids may get sick. The political and religious climate of the country may be hostile. You could lose your life or one of your kids could lose their life. You may have to deal with extreme heat or extreme cold. You may not have the equipment that you wished you had. Your travel may take longer and involve modes you'd rather avoid. Your food supplies may run low. The smells, even your own smell, may be repugnant. You will miss family. Your family will miss you. You may battle guilt for not having your kids grow up around their grandparents. Even after you get there you may sometimes feel like you are wasting your talent; like you could really "make a go of it" if you had pursued your other dream. People don't want to pay that price and so here we are.
Regarding those unreached ethnic groups still without the gospel we cannot say "Behold we did not know this!" We do know. The problem is that we don't want to pay the price it will take for these ethnic groups to be reached.
Our perspective is so different from that of Paul who said, "For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh...Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal." (2 Corinthians 4:11, 16-18)
In the end, it gets very simple. Yes, the cost is high. But, is Jesus worth it?"
This makes me wonder:
Can I do more for the sake of Jesus Christ?
Can I give more?
Can I sacrifice more?
What about you? What are your thoughts? Your comments are welcomed!