August 11, 2019 - INSCRIPTIONS FROM THE HEART
In preparation for this IFH, I came across The Traveling Team online which is a Christian organization aimed at equipping and mobilizing American college students for global missions. They had a page with statistics regarding the state of evangelical missions today and the numbers were...to put it bluntly, quite embarrassing and just plain sad. You can see the full list on http://www.thetravelingteam.org/stats#, but I'll highlight a few here:
- "Evangelical Christians could provide all of the funds needed to plant a church in each of the 6,900 unreached people groups with only 0.03% of their income."
- "If every evangelical gave 10% of their income to missions we could easily support 2 million new missionaries."
- "Financially we are hoarding 99.99% of our income to ourselves and what little is given is mostly directed toward reached people groups."
- "Roughly 30 times as many missionaries go to reached people groups to work with Christians, as go to unreached people groups. Far less go to the frontier people groups, where there are as yet no believers."
- "The amount of resources that fall off the Christian table for unreached peoples is more comparable with the number of skin cells you lose over a month’s time: something hardly worth calling a sacrifice of the body."
If you grew up in church, chances are you've heard a sermon or two where the preacher highlighted these same stats. I know I've heard these numbers before, and yet where am I now after having heard this? Still here in Edmonton enjoying the comforts of my privileged life, more tied down to this place than ever especially after buying a house.
I'm not out to try and guilt trip everyone into becoming overseas missionaries. I am reflecting, first and foremost, on my life and my priorities. I say I love God, but am I obedient to his command to go and make disciples of all nations? Maybe going to a different continent is not possible at this time, but how about going to those from other continents who are in Edmonton right now? The Traveling Team brought up the idea of ministry to international students, which is basically the world at our doorstep seeing as how there are thousands of international students studying at our multiple post secondary institutions every year. Many of these students go home to places where they may be the only “Jesus” the nationals will see, and the only “Bible” they will read. There are also new immigrants or refugees that I can volunteer to help out and minister to. So many opportunities right in front of me to be obedient to the last command that Jesus gave his disciples (and all his followers thereafter) before ascending to heaven; am I going to listen?
I always remind myself that even though God calls us, even commands us to go and make disciples of all nations, he technically doesn't need us to in order to fulfill his purposes.
Ultimately, God is the one who changes hearts and leads people to saving repentance. The question now is whether we as self-proclaimed followers of Christ will be obedient to his call and thus join him in his miraculous work of salvation. Do we want to witness amazing things that only God can accomplish in this world? Do we want to have a front row seat for those miracles? Then we go!