On our way down to Haiti an older couple asked us where we were going. We responded by sharing a bit of our story. Then they said, “What about the needs here? Why do you need to be involved in other nations when there are so many needs in our nation?” Interesting question!
I am currently in the first half of the book titled, Radical by David Platt. It has been one of the most challenging books I believe I have read. I came across a section called “What about the needs here?” Below is a paraphrased and directly quoted portion from the book:
Similar phrases might sound like, “I don’t need to go to all nations, because God has given me a heart for Minnesota.” Others might say, “God has given me a heart for the US.” These statements sounds spiritual, but when we probe deeper, they seem more like smoke screens.
They are smoke screens because most of us really are not very concerned about the needs right around us. Most Christians rarely share the gospel, and most Christians’ schedules are not heavily weighted to feeding the hungry, helping the sick, and strengthening the church in the neediest places in our country.
Certainly there are great needs here. But must we insist on dividing the Great Commission into an either-or proposition? Who told us that we had to choose to have a heart for the US or a heart for the world? Based on the purpose of God we’ve seen in Scripture, shouldn’t every Christain’s heart be ultimately consumed with how we can make God’s glory known in all the world?
It’s 6,783,421,727 and counting. Liberal estimates, approx. 1/3 of the world is Christian. That leaves 4.5 billion people who, if the gospel is true, at this moment are separated from God in their sin.
Again, 4.5 billion.
And most of them live outside the United States. We are to extend his glory not just to areas of need here but to areas of need around the world. Not either here or there, but both here and there.
He goes on to say that he is not suggesting we all move overseas. The problem is that we have created the idea that if you have a heart for the world and you are passionate about global mission, then you move overseas. Instead, there are many ways to be involved with Gods mission around the world without needing to live overseas. Of course, let’s not rule out that he could send you overseas as well 🙂
My eyes are beginning to be more open to the mission we have in front of us. The reality that we are to care for the poor and hungry. For me the global mission is in a two hour flight from Florida to Haiti, where there is a whole country extremely poor and in need of a Jesus.
What about you? Where is this Great Commission lead you?