Perry Cotham celebrated his 100th birthday last week. I met him in 1976 or 1977 as a part of a university campaign group in Aylesbury, UK, where he was the speaker for the evangelistic event. Our paths have never crossed since then, but I hear of his activities now and again. I still have one of his books from that summer in my library. God bless his faithfulness in preaching when his time comes to meet the Savior.
• Does anybody call such trips campaigns anymore? Used to, they lasted for six weeks. After participating in two college campaigns, I wound up staying another six weeks in Scotland and later in Brazil, taking up the whole summer period between school years. Nowadays they seem to last one to two weeks at most.
• The economy (read: the church with wrong priorities) makes another victim of missions. Douglas and Sandra Alvarenga didn’t make it to their target city in Argentina last year for lack of funds. Brothers and sisters, we have people willing to go, ready to get on the plane, but our churches can’t come up with the support for them. I don’t know this couple personally. I do know something is far amiss if we claim to be the restored church of the New Testament and can’t get people on the field to preach the gospel where it has never, ever been preached before.
• Did the Crossroads movement teach us nothing? If we had been doing our job, there might never have been such a movement. Will our materialism and self-satisfaction cause another such cultic off-shoot to rise up? Or, this time, the Lord might be behind such a movement. If his church will not do his task, he may raise up those who will.
• It’s a rarity for a church spend half of its budget doing what the Lord told us to do in Matthew 28:18-20, going into all the world to teach the gospel. Rare. Most missions programs are mere church bulletin decorations. One element of the successful, respectable church. The early church did so much with so little, and the American church does so little with so much. And when push comes to shove, and the offerings fall below budget, missions is the first to feel the knife. It’s happening everywhere, you know it is.
• For our sake the Lord Jesus became poor (2 Corinthians 8:9). Paul uses him as our example. We are called to follow the Lord. The love that caused him to pour out such a sacrifice motivates his people to continue his mission. To those to whom much has been given, much will be required. We are not here on earth for our comfort. We are here to do the will of God—save others from perdition. When the Son of Man comes, “will he find faithfulness on earth” among his people? (Luke 18:8 CEB).