Thursday, July 24, 2008

A Worthy Challenge

The following is an excerpt from a post by my friend 'Brother Eugene', a full-time missionary to China. It's definitely worth a read and some thought. His perspectives as a missionary to unreached peoples are worthwhile. Even if you don't read the whole thing, skim to #3 and consider the Hudson Taylor quote.

What isn't being done for the lost by Christians in the West

That is the question I want to try and answer in the next few paragraphs. My goal is to encourage you to examine yourself to see if there is not something more that love for God and your fellow man would constrain you to do in regards to reaching the lost around the world.

1. We are not becoming "all things to all men, that [we] may by all means save some". There are innumerable opportunities throughout the world, from London to Lhasa, for Christians to work and live and share the Gospel. There are opportunities for almost every kind of entreprenuer imaginable, and for every profession under heaven. But we rarely take advantage of these opportunities.

Here in Asia's Highlands, for instance, there are hundreds of completely unreached towns and cities where it would be easy for a foreigner to come in and start up some kind of business. But it just isn't happening. The opportunity is UNDENIABLY there, but the takers are so few. Out of the millions of Christians in places like America, you would think that at least a few thousand could heed the call to go to these completely unevangelized places... especially with so many opportunities available!

2. We are not willing to leave our lives of comfort and relative safety behind to help fulfill the Great Commission. Many are willing to take short-term vacations, but few are willing to decidedly take up lifetime residence in a strange country that speaks a strange language...and making that place your real home for life, in order to share the Gospel with the people there. This was the norm in ages past, when the modern missionary movement began.

The vast majority of missionaries today, even long-term workers, do not become like the people they are seeking to reach. Most of the time, we are simply not willing to give up our 'identity' as an American/Canadian/Peruvian or other nationality, in order to truly become Chinese/Malaysian/Pakistani, etc... and be able to share the Gospel in the most effective way possible. We sacrifice effectiveness and fluency in understanding the language and culture, for the comfort and security of keeping our own national identity and speech.

3. We are not willing to look at the spiritual state of the unreached people groups of the world, and make our life decisions based upon the obvious need and the clear call to "Go and Preach". All too often, we seek to justify ourselves and claim to not have been "called" to missions. But it was Hudson Taylor who said that we should rather ask God if he is calling us to stay at home. What would be the problem if we all (or even 50% of us) decided to be missionaries? Would God not provide for our needs and open doors as never before?

I am not speaking primarily of the traditional missionary model where you have to raise so much money before you can go and all you do is sit around and talk to your neighbors about Jesus. I am speaking primarily of missions following in the footsteps of the Apostle Paul. We need people who are willing to work hard and start companies, and share the Gospel everywhere that they go. If unbelievers can build companies and create successful businesses around the world, and all for personal gain, how much more should we Christians be able to do that with our hearts focused on giving glory to God and seeking and saving the lost wherever we go?

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