According to the United Nations there are 197 nations in the world. The list starts with Afghanistan and ends with Zimbabwe.
Could you name them?
Actually that would be a fun challenge. Get four or five friends and try to name them between you.
Now, in how many of those countries has the gospel been preached? How many have active congregations? How many have spiritually minded, biblically qualified leaders?
Every now and then I hear brethren speak as if the job is done. We’ve fulfilled the Great Commission. We understand that it takes fifty years (or so) for an elder to become ready to lead a congregation here, but we’re ready to drop a missionary after eight years of work!
How can I put this with sufficient urgency? Brethren, we’re not finished! How dare we dunk people in another country and leave those babes in Christ to the elements? They would arrest parents for doing that to their physical children! How dare we whip the rug out from under our finest and most courageous?
I was asked to speak on missions at a congregation. The elder who spoke to me said, “But don’t talk about churches that build parking lots while letting the missionary go.”
I thought: “How I wish those were made-up stories!”
Missionaries have a gallows humor joke: Misquoting slightly from Exodus 1:8 they say: “There arose an eldership in the congregation that knew not the missionary.”
J.M. McCaleb, the great missionary to Japan was speaking in a congregation in the US. A well meaning member told him, “Brother McCaleb, you are such a talented speaker. There are people who need the gospel right here! Your ability is wasted over there.” He wrote these words:
“Say not the heathen are at home,
Beyond we have no call,
For why should we be blessed alone?
The gospel is for all.”
I am not in opposition to the gospel on the internet, short wave radio and on television, but lost souls in countries where the church does not exist or are weak need people to preach Christ, model him, and build churches.
It takes time, resources and priorities that reflect those of Christ. And, my friends, we have the resources! You and I can reach people in my own community personally. Could you spare a thought for the rest of the world?
“Pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest” (Matthew 9:37).
When was the last time you heard someone pray that prayer? When was the last time you prayed that prayer? Please pray that young men and women will have a heart for lost souls. Please pray that churches will back them, give them the tools.
My friends, we’re not finished!