Monday, July 15, 2013

To the Ends of the Earth

I have contemplated writing this post for a few weeks now. At first, I felt like I shouldn't because the last thing I want to do is offend anyone. But, with our college & career pastor's message yesterday on evangelism in which he pulled from the Great Commission passage, I felt God tug at my heart and tell me to write it. Sometimes, friends, it's good to be offended. Healthy, even. Hopefully if a message offends you, it also gives you an opportunity to check yourself and ask yourself why exactly you are offended. Is it because the person's message is vulgar or rude? Or could it be that perhaps your own beliefs have somehow been warped in some way. Believe me when I say that I have been offended on numerous occasions. Sometimes it is because the other party has no filter and/or is simply rude and their end goal is actually to offend. But more often than not, it is because the opinions/message/actions of the other person struck a cord with me and caused me to reassess my own thoughts, opinions, or actions. That's my goal here. Bear with me.

Besides loving the Lord and loving others, what would you say was Christ's most important commandment? You may disagree but I believe it can be found in Matthew 28:19. "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (emphasis mine). This is The Great Commission. I discovered recently that there are "Christians" who are actually against foreign missions. This is mind boggling to me. How can you read that verse above, claim to be a Christ follower, and then turn around and say you are against foreign missions? The very life of that verse is tied to what we would consider foreign missions. The disciples themselves & the apostle Paul were foreign missionaries. I studied a bit last night to remind myself of the places Paul traveled to: Antioch, Syria, Macedonia, Thessalonica, Athens, Corinth, Ephesus, Rome. If it were not for the foreign ministry of Paul, especially the ministry to the Gentiles, I would not be here today. I would not be writing this to you. What if the disciples had stayed put, only preaching in their hometown? What would have happened? So I ask again, how can a Christian be against the very thing that became the catalyst for them to even be saved?

I've heard the argument: there is so much to do here. That is true. There is a lot to be done in America. People are lost in America. You are absolutely right. But then, if that is in fact your position on the matter, I must ask, what are you doing here? What are you doing to change the lives of others or show Christ's love to others? What does your missionary journey look like here in America, in your state, city, or on your very street? If you are working feverishly to further the Kingdom in your current locale, then keep on keeping on.

Personally, I find it difficult to understand how a Christian can be against Kingdom work ANYWHERE. If people are being saved, if the angels themselves are rejoicing over the lost souls coming to Christ, then how can we be any different? Are we that self-minded here in America that we are against our brothers and sisters bringing the Gospel to "all nations?" Now, let me be clear. I do not think that God calls each individual to cross the "great pond" to another country (I certainly do not have that calling). Clearly He has given us each our varying mission fields: for some it's their own homes or families, for some their work place, for others it's their neighborhood or town; but for many others it's Africa or Mexico or Russia or China or somewhere else overseas. And if we don't support that, if we say we're against foreign missions, then let me be frank: we are against Christ. Plain and simple. There is no watered-down version to make that pill easier to swallow. Again I say, if you are against mission work simply because it's not in your own country, you are against Christ and His work period. Being against foreign missions is being against lives being saved and brought into the Kingdom. Being against foreign missions is, in effect, saying that God doesn't call Americans overseas...and who are we to say what He calls anyone to, as long as it's biblical? This whole mindset simply does not coincide with biblical faith or with a loving God who sent His Son to die for ALL.

Again, my goal is not to offend for the sake of offending. It is not to say, "I'm right, you're wrong." It is simply to get you to think about your opinions and beliefs in a different light. In His light. In the Light of the One that saved you and saved me from the very brink of death, the One that paid the price for our sins, the sins of you, me, and all the other lost souls around the world. Just...think about it.

I leave you with this:
"But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jersualem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth" (emphasis mine). Acts 1:8
You might not be traveling to the ends of the earth, but we all should be praying for and supporting those that do.

Image retrieved from: http://www.aloconline.com/outreach/