I sit on the couch scrolling aimlessly through the calendar on my phone. 1965 rolls by. 1900, 1888, 1844 fly by. Then come 1715, 1640, 1492, and the dark ages. I think to myself of the many Christians who died during those Dark Ages. They held fast to their faith and would not let it go. Then Christopher Columbus discovered the new world, thus providing a place of escape for those persecuted for their faith. Soon the Mayflower sailed from England for the New World, as it was then known, and the pilgrims found a home. The Bible founded its way deep into the roots of American history and values, and as time passed the colony became a nation.
The French Revolution rocked Europe with a new philosophy, a reasoning of life without God. A 10 day week was adopted to obliterate everything having any remote connection to God or a Creator. In this ‘new beginning’ of godlessness there was much blood shed, much heartache, much sadness. But their leaders held that this was the way the world should be. These new ideas rocked Christian Europe and the rest of the world.
Yet today we find a drastically different landscape, and yet it’s the same. It’s the same as it was in the 1700s. There are those who profess Christianity and there are those who profess godlessness. It has taken a whole new form that is different from the form in the 1700s. Today we have modernism, yes even postmodernism, and this has changed the way that multitudes view the world.
And yet… What’s the purpose? Why are we here? What is the ultimate reason for our existence. Godlessness has no answer. It provides no assurance of any purpose for one’s life. It provides no reason for existence. It gives no answers to these questions. What is Christ’s answer? He has made us for a grand purpose! He has created us and placed us on this globe for an incredible reason! He wants to use us to manifest his character to a fallen world, and yes, even to all the un-fallen universes out there. He wants to use us as lights to shine, no, not in the lightest places of the world, no! He wants to use us to light the darkest places of the globe, those places where the Light has never pierced. He has called us to this purpose in the very last words He spoke on this earth. You can find them in Matt 28.
I scroll forward. 2015, 2018, 2025, 2035, 2050, 2070… What does the future hold? When will Christ’s coming in glory be? Jesus himself said that no one knows the day or the hour of this grand event. What will the future hold? Will we as the people of God rise up and do the work that He has given us? Will we manifest his character to this fallen world? Will we vindicate His name before the onlooking universes? Will we sit in silence waiting for someone else to act? Will we wait to follow someone else? What if no one else goes? What will we do?
These are sobering questions. These are questions that it’s our turn to answer. God is calling us to action. He is asking us these questions today. He wants our heart and our affections and our all. I want to propose to you today that the future lies in our hands. The future of this world lies in the hands of God’s people. We can either get up and act and do what He has commanded, saving lost souls and hastening His coming, or we can sit back in silence and comfort, admitting by action that God’s command isn’t important, and millions of souls will be lost as a terrible result. The future lies in your hands. Will you hasten the coming of the King?
“Oh yeah, you got one alright.” The father said as he took the pole and started reeling in the line. I was sitting on the bench on the wooden dock standing over the water of the bay. A man was fishing behind me on the shore with his daughter of perhaps 8 years old. She had her own little pole and had hooked a fish.
The father reeled and reeled and soon the fished popped out of the water. He unhooked it and kept it.
This got me to thinking… There’s a saying that goes like this: Give a man a fish, and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime.
There is a spiritual lesson to this. We can fish all our life and gain many souls for Jesus. But if we teach them how to fish, then they will be able to go out and gain many more souls for Christ.
Jesus has called us to be fishers of men. He needs us not only to fish, but also to teach others how to fish. The more people we train to fish for souls, the sooner He can come back to this earth.
“So close!” My house mate cried out as he fell. Just mastering the unicycle, his words could have been easily misunderstood.
Again he was off on the wheel, taking off across the grass. “So close!” he shouted again as he fell.
But it was a bit of a joke. He was falling on purpose. Some of the others had tried to ride the unicycle, but they couldn’t ride as well and fell right away. Then the joke started when my housemate tried to fall just like the others… It was so close. He almost got it right! Again he tried, he almost fell right, it was so close again.
If this sounds pretty light hearted, it is. But how many of us, God’s professing people, go after the ways of the world, trying to fall just like them? How many of us are obsessed with trying to fall just like those in the world? Why do we think it’s cool? Do we take seriously God’s call to follow him? Or are we light heartedly making fun and following the worldlings as they go in circles?
I believe God has a higher plan for us. A much higher plan! He has an infinite plan. He desires us to follow him implicitly, doing everything just as Jesus did, for He is our Example. If we would do this, what a representation of Him that would be!
It was six years ago… I was excited! I was about to fly overseas for the first time. And not only that, I was going alone… Going alone didn’t excite me much, but I was excited because I was going to be a missionary. I was traveling for the first time to a place I’d never been, going to meet someone at the airport that I’d never met before. Given my level of experience it seems almost foolish now… Earlier that year rebels had taken over a large part of the neighboring country. And there had even been riots in the city where I was going… But despite this, I knew that God was by my side, and that He was sending me here, and I had no reason to fear.
I was reeling for about 4 weeks! I’d never been to a third world country. It was all so different! Cars drove wherever they felt like it, even if it was the opposite side of the road. Horns tooted everywhere. There was no concept of lanes, everyone drove where they wanted. So many opportunists walked along the side of the roads selling peanuts, or setup shop on the side of the road to sell anything drivers and travelers would buy… There was no such thing in my country! At times when a driver got cut off, he stuck his hand out the window and shouted, “Where are you going to?” as if he was going to somewhere more important than the other driver! I remember walking maybe about 1km out to the main road where there was an internet cafe, just to check my email and get news from home. There was no 3G, no smartphones. The taxi cars operated like public transport taking as many passengers as possible, two people in the passenger seat was normal.
All this sounds like a crazy experience, but these things are commonplace in third world countries. For me, it was more than a crazy experience, because I knew why I was there… I was there to be a missionary. Throughout my term there, I began to understand more of what being a missionary really means. It’s not about adventure… It’s not about traveling to places you’ve never been, or about experiences cultures you’ve never experienced. There’s nothing inherently wrong with these things, but they aren’t good motives for being a missionary.
What are good motives for being a missionary? Why should someone desire and then become a missionary? What does it really mean to be a missionary? These are good questions, and they require more than a casual answer. First we should answer the last question. What does it mean to be a missionary? This is a big concept, yet simultaneously so simple. Let’s look at the only perfect Missionary who ever walked this earth. Jesus left His glory in heaven, his perfect home… Why? Why did He leave heaven? Why did He come all the way down to dingy dirty earth? He cared about humanity, you and me and everyone else who has ever walked this globe. He loved us so much that He left his perfect home in heaven where there was no sin or suffering or pain. He left all of that to come to planet earth, claimed by Satan, He came to humanity, fallen and depraved in sin. His compassion and love were so great that He left His perfect home in heaven to come and save humanity. I believe this is the best illustration of what it means to be a missionary.
I think there are many good motives for being a missionary, so I won’t list them all. Given the illustration that we’ve just looked at of Jesus leaving heaven to come and save humanity… Let’s think about what Jesus’ motives were… Well of course we know that He came because he wanted to save humanity. But let’s look a little deeper, what does that really mean? Jesus forsook everything he had to come and save the lost. What motivated Him to do that? It was His love for the lost. God’s love was so great that He gave His Son… His Son’s love was so great that He gave His life. This is in essence the best motive in it’s entirety for being a missionary. His motive was love. Infinite Love. Incomprehensible Love. Love so big we can’t even imagine it.
This is the love that God wants to give us for the unreached, for the lost of humanity. Do we love the lost? Do we even care whether they suffer in darkness? Do we care about them enough to share with them a better way? The Way of Life? I have to admit I more than pale in comparison with God’s love for the lost. I pale in comparison to other missionaries I know… But God wants to give us His heart, His heart of love for the lost and unreached. Will you accept His heart? His love? Will you ask Him for it?