Does it matter?
Is our work in vain?
Why aren’t more people stepping to the plate to finish the task?
Is our effort making any difference in the realm of laborers moving out to declare Christ to the unreached?
It was twenty years ago that we stepped into the role of missions mobilization after spending a third of our lives in Papua New Guinea. We became the voice of the east to advocate the need for harvest laborers among the millions of unreached peoples of the world. We engaged with churches; we reached out to young families and individuals and to college students. We echoed that challenge to teens and to youth. …And we’re still doing that today –asking God’s people to consider the need and to do something about those who don’t know Jesus.
In the last two years we’ve asked churches to keep an eye out for those in their congregations who have a heart to serve and then begin praying such ones onto the harvest fields of the world. Of course it’s going to take the investment of time to nurture and disciple such ones in the effort of equipping them so partner organizations [like us] can give them specialized training for cross-cultural ministry. My challenge has been “Just don’t support missions; become senders and go-ers!” (Go-er’s… is that even a word?!!)
“But we have needs here” you say. Yeah, I’m all for reaching those on our home front; those in our communities struggling with addictions, those in the cities and those in the countryside who battle a myriad of issues. Sure, we all see those around us who need Jesus but what are we doing about those needs? Praise God some are assisting and reaching out to help those here. But what are we doing about the thousands of people groups who never heard of Jesus, God, or the Bible… what about their need for salvation? You see the world is a lot bigger than a street in my community, the cities in my state, and the places around me.
Our challenge to the church is, “What about those living ‘beyond’ the reach of the gospel? Who is gonna’ tell them about Jesus?”
I wonder if we’re not looking in the right places? Jesus addressed this in his day when He said to His disciples… “Lift up (open) your eyes and LOOK at the world… it’s ripe for harvest!” (John 4:35) If they didn’t get it, then maybe we’re not getting it either. I’ve always thought of that verse in the likeness of headlights on a car. Low beam illuminates the area around us –the familiar. But high beam spreads the light beyond the familiar to distances we typically don’t see in the darkness. As you move into that light your vision becomes deeper; you see things that perhaps you wouldn’t see if you are looking only at what’s nearby.
So what in the world are we DOING??? We’re climbing towards a world population of nearly 8 billion people. About a third of them, 2.7 billion people comprising thousands of unreached people groups, remain without the gospel. Friends, we need some serious prayer in light of what Jesus told us to pray about. He said “ASK the Lord of the Harvest to thrust out workers.” Ok, that’s the whole point of this writing… you can do something by asking Jesus to send (Ekballo: to cast, bring forth, produce) those who will go to such places of the world still without the gospel. That’s pretty easy to do, isn’t it? …But don’t be surprised if in the asking he sends some, perhaps you, to go. Let’s continue to partner in prayer to see the job finished, OK?