1999-07-24 - Go
Our children deliver newspapers. Todays headlines in the New Era, Lancaster's evening paper, read Calvary Church: a Monument to the Power of Religion. Now unless you live in Lancaster, Pa. you would not be familiar with this new building. The caption under the picture reads "Big does not describe it". The church covers 184,000 square feet. To give you a better picture, the local Walmart is 203,400 square feet. Are things a little clearer? The total cost … a mere $18 million. Now I don't know about you, but I cannot even fathom a mortgage payment on 18 million dollars. Further into the article you read … "Founded on the Word, focused on the world," has always been the church moto, with the "C" in Calvary surrounding the globe turned toward Africa and Europe." Now I have never attended this church nor am I criticizing it. But in light of what the Lord has been teaching us the past few weeks, it sure caught my attention.
Last week we spoke to you about Gospel For Asia. A representative from GFA came to speak at our church. He told us of newspaper headlines in an English newspaper in India, it read "The Dog is the Boys Mother". In Bombay with a population of one million, the largest slum in the world exists, where 100,000 orphaned children live on the streets. The picture showed a young starving boy approximately age four or five who was nursing from the dogs milk. I cannot get that image out of my mind.
In the Road to Reality by K.P.Yohannan he states, "According to the shocking statistics from the US Center for World Missions, only one-half of one percent of our church budgets in this country is used to preach Christ to the 3.8 billion unreached people of the world. More than 95% of our church budgets are spent at home. Of the five percent that is sent overseas for missions, 4.5 percent goes for social work and for subsidies to establish churches on the mission field.
Can you imagine what would happen if Christians in the West would grasp the principle of sharing and apply it to the needs of the Gospel around the world today? Within a few short years native missionaries would have preached the Gospel in every lost village of the third world!"
How is that possible? Because the cost for a native missionary to establish a church is about $5000.00. But hey … we need $18 million here! What is wrong with this picture?
Could it be we have lost sight of the great commission? I attended a denomination that was very concerned about everyone's spiritual gift. We took tests and determined what gifts each person had and we were told to work within the category we fit into. Evangelism was one of the categories. Now that seems okay in and of itself, but then I read:
Matthew 28:18-20 "All power is given unto me in heaven and in the earth. Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you:and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the ends of the world."No qualifiers … it does not say … 'if this is your spiritual gift". It does not say "if you are called" it does not say " if you are not uncomfortable with it and it does not inconvenience you". No it just simply says "go". The Great commission leaves no option. Does that mean we all need to pack our bags and head for Africa? Actually, I think we would do as well if not better to spread the gospel where we are. We can also support native missionaries who can preach the Word to people whose culture they fully understand and do it at a fraction of the cost. How can we help native missionaries? We can pray for them and we can support them financially.
I have to admit that reading Revolution in World Missions and Road to Reality sure made us uncomfortable. There were no fancy words, no trying to please the audience. Just plain simple truth based on scripture. A call to live what we say we believe … right here in North America. To take seriously the challenge given to us in Road to Reality, "Live on less if that's what it takes- but determine right here and now that you will live as Christ would in your financial affairs."
Lord God, help us somehow to let go of ourselves. God engrave in our minds the image of a little boy whose only hope for food comes from a dog and Lord move us through your Holy Spirit to action, save us from our bondage.
In His Service,