John Piper said, “Go, send, or disobey.” (Prayer is a given.) So why is there such a dearth of workers in the harvest field of the unreached? I’m sure individuals offer many reasons, but to me, as one living in America, a few reasons stand out: security, comfort, and materialism. The American dream is to work hard, live in a nice house, drive a nice car, raise a nice family, maybe give to charity and attend church once a week, and retire to enjoy your senior years. Much of this is totally unbiblical.
Most of us in the American church pursue security, comfort, and material goods over obedience to the Lord and risk for the sake of the gospel.
(Note that I use “we” or “us” throughout this article as the message applies to me as well!)
• How many of our prayers focus on our own, our family’s, and our friends’ safety, health, and security on this earth vs. focus on eternal destinies?
• How many vacations do we take vs. short-term mission trips?
• How much do we give to global missions vs. spend on our pets?
• How much time do we pray for the unreached when approximately 200,000 people enter eternity each day, many of whom never had an adequate gospel witness or even met a Christian?
• How much time do we abide with Jesus vs. scroll through social media or watch TV?
• How much time do we tend to our savings, 401(k)s, and IRAs vs. seek ways and opportunities to give to the Lord’s work, including in our wills?
• How irritated are we when the church’s air conditioner is not working vs. being unconcerned with missionaries unable to raise needed funds?
• How much do we support a nice, modern church building to attend vs. support for church planting teams in hard-to-reach and difficult areas of the world?
The statement in Revelation 3:17, describing the Laodicea church, “Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,’ and do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked” could very well describe the current state of the American church. I’m reminded of Charles Spurgeon’s quote:
“I remember one who spoke on the missionary question one day saying, ‘The great question is not, “Will not the heathen be saved if we do not send them the gospel?” but “Are we saved ourselves if we do not send them the gospel?”’”
Jesus had much to say about security, comfort, and materialism. An apt summary is found in Luke 14:27, 33, “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple… So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.” That pretty much obliterates security, comfort, and materialism as things for which to strive.
Church, we must ask the Holy Spirit to change us to fulfill the last great commandment the Lord gave us before going to His heavenly throne: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…” (Matt. 28:19).
Church, our citizenship is in heaven, and we have work to do as we sojourn here on earth!
***Our author, Bob Stock, is a layperson and chairman of the missions committee at Raleigh First Assembly in Raleigh, NC.