I grew up in a church of a denomination that was formed with a wonderful emphasis on missions. We often had missionaries in our pulpit and the Missions Conference was something I looked forward to every year. A week of evening services, colorful flags from countries around the world decorating the sanctuary, slide shows from the mission fields, singing those great hymns about missions, and international dinners! I loved it all.
I know mission work has drawn criticism of late. How dare we impose our western religion on these innocent people? And if you tell them Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life and no one goes to the Father except through him, well – that can really get the critics going!
When Paul talked to the people in Lystra who mistook him for one of their gods, he told them that in the past God let all nations go their own way. “Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.” (Acts 14:16-17) He told them they needed to turn from their worthless gods and put their faith in the living God.
When the people heard this they stoned Paul and left him for dead. Paul pulled himself up and you know what he did? He went back into the city. Why? Because he knew those people were lost without Jesus.
That’s the bottom line. People need the Lord. They are going to hell without him. Is God calling you to serve him in a foreign land? Go! Is he asking you to take the Gospel to the homeless people in your city? Do it! What about the inmates at your local prison? They need Jesus, too. Has God laid on your heart their eternal souls? Be obedient to the call.
If you really believe that Jesus is the answer, then you need to ask yourself what you are willing to do about it, where are you willing to go to share the Truth of the Savior. Paul was faithful to his calling. I pray the same can be said for each of us.
Heavenly Father, what would you say to each of us today? Is there somewhere you want us to go to share the good news of Jesus Christ? Are there remote villages full of people who have never heard? Are there large cities full of busy people who don’t give Jesus a second thought? Would you want us to go into the prisons or into the streets of our own towns to introduce lost souls to the Savior? Forgive our excuses, Lord. May we set aside our hesitations and trust you. If you call, you will also lead. May you find us faithful.