I recently read an account of a young missionary who went to a remote village in West Africa to tell the gospel story.
No one in that village of 231 people had ever once heard the gospel. The chief reluctantly let the missionary speak to the entire village. When the villagers were told about Jesus’ life, arrest, crucifixion and resurrection, they were amazed. Some wept openly. They marveled that the Son of God loved them and died in their place so their many sins might be forgiven.
They wanted to know more. One older man came to the young missionary immediately after his presentation and asked, “Son, when did God give you this message? How long have you had it?” The missionary replied, “God gave this message to people long ago, but I only learned it a year ago.”
The obviously upset man grabbed the young missionary and shook him with all his might! Through tears he cried out, “God gave you this message last year and you did not come to tell us before my mother, father, and son died?!!” In tears the young missionary begged for the man’s forgiveness.
All around us are people who have not heard the gospel and those who need to hear the old, old story once again with freshness. All around us are people with problems so severe that only the gospel can provide relief. The gospel is God’s power for salvation. In our world are yet approximately 3.7 billion people who have never heard the gospel once. They are waiting for someone to tell them the Truth. Why are we not going? Are we purposefully disobedient? Are we ignorantly disobedient? Can you hear the plea? Will you respond?
Let me suggest four things you can do to answer the plea.
- You can pray! You can pray for missionaries, you can pray for opportunities and open doors. You can pray for your friends, neighbors, and relatives who are lost.
- You can look for opportunities. You can seize the small openings God gives to put in a good word for Jesus. You can be boldly unashamed.
- You can encourage the church toward more mission and evangelistic efforts. I knew of a church of 125 that spent half of its budget in support of three full-time missionaries. Most churches spend less than 10% of their budget on missions. Too much of the money our churches spend is spent on ourselves. We are selfish to a fault and failing to answer God’s great commission.
- You can assist. You may not be able to go, but you can be involved in ways that make a difference.
Finally, we can all repent! Can you hear the plea? Can you understand the urgency of the task? Let us do all we can to share the news of Jesus in our lost and dying world!