“Resolution One: I will live for God. Resolution Two: If no one else does, I still will.” - Jonathan Edwards -

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Thoughts on Missions (Part One)

I am currently doing a multi-week sermon series on the importance and necessity of missions. This, along with some recent articles over at Bugs' Place, has caused me to do a lot of soul-searching.

The reality of our outreach to the Muslim community is bleak. We have something on the order of 6% of our missions work focused around the Islamic world, and yet, one in three non-Christians are Muslim. What does this say about us?

I think of the recent events in Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania, where an Amish community came together to help the widow of a man who had massacred 5 young Amish girls. This community showed Christ to an unbelieving world in a way that many in the 'correct denominations' never did. While I may disagree with the Amish on many points, there is no denying that they reached out to one whom they could have easily considered an enemy and embraced them.

Now, what does that have to do with Islam and Missions? Well, I hear much more rhetoric from the 'Christian' community on what we 'ought to do' to the Muslim community (not much of it outreach, unless you call military action outreach), than I do true Christian compassion. While our hearts ought to be breaking because of the reality that hundreds of Muslims in Iraq alone are DAILY being sent to a Christless eternity, we seem to be filled much more with hatred than compassion.

It seems to me, and I am as guilty as anyone so please forgive me as well, that when it comes to missions, we in the US are more interested in 'interesting' locales and a more tourism-oriented mission, than true outreach.

I understand that this is not true across the board, but I have had many people tell me that they were called to go into the mission field, either short-term, or long-term, yet when I point out areas where missionaries are needed, often the first response is: "But, is that area safe?" As if, they really only are 'called' if it is 'safe' (whatever that might mean to them).

We do not touch the truly lost because we often are looking for accolades -- "Oh, Ray is so spiritual, he did a three-week mission trip to Puerta Vallarta"... If we were truly broken-hearted and desirous that God's glory be proclaimed, I don't know that we would be as concerned about toilets that flush, and 'safe' trips.

I want to leave you with some quotes from missionaries who gave their all -- Studd left a promising Cricket career to spend his life in China and Africa, Keith-Falconer in Yemen:

"Some wish to live within the sound of a chapel bell; I wish to run a rescue mission within a yard of hell." - C.T. Studd

"I have but one candle of life to burn, and I would rather burn it out in a land filled with darkness than in a land flooded with light" - Ion Keith Falconer

I will continue these thoughts later in the week...


Steve Sensenig said...

Hope your anniversary weekend was refreshing and a blessing!

These are some tough thoughts in this post, but oh so right on! You've given me some stuff to mull over.

Have a blessed week!
steve :)

Ray said...

Thank you -- our anniversary turned out very nice...

Good to hear from you Steve!

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Great thoughts, Ray.