Week 4 - Missions
This week started off with a story of a valiant warrior named Benaiah, who chased a lion into a pit on a snowy day and killed it (Samuel 23:20). We laughed nervously. We could chase a chicken or a cat…but a lion?
Our speaker Mark Baxter* has ministered in over 90 nations. He has actually seen and been in miraculous stories from the mission field, and he challenged us with this opening question: “If you could not fail, what do you want to accomplish for God?”
We are tasked with The Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20. “…to make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” The Greek word “ethne” means “people or ethnic groups”. **
The Old Testament shows us God‘s missionary heart through miraculous stories ”so that the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel” (1 Samuel 17:46). God worked through people like David, Daniel, Moses, Joshua to bring His people into a deeper knowledge of who He is.
Yet what holds us back from this task? My faith is small. I’m not a good speaker. I don’t have the money. My church won’t send me to a war-torn country. Fear of financial costs. Fear of death. Lack of knowledge. Misplaced priorities. We have more missionaries in reached rather than unreached people groups.***
How should we respond then?
We go. “There is something significant about ‘going’. God honors that – the sacrifice. It honors God and pleases him.” We ask for faith to increase. “Don’t live off of other people’s stories. Get your own stories!” We pray BIG PRAYERS so we can “brag on Jesus” and He gets the glory! We send more workers to the unreached people groups, educate and challenge our churches to learn or pray for these groups, and we focus our prayers (MB).
What did Paul, the greatest missionary of all time, pray for? He prayed for the right words while in chains, and for open doors for the message. Not once did he pray for safety or his life.
There is no “safety” within God’s will. He may lead you to unsafe places so the gospel can be preached, but he’ll be there to lead us and walk with us. He’ll provide the people, skills, and resources needed. He’ll empower us with His Spirit.
And we’ll get to chase lions.
* R. Mark Baxter has authored two books on missions: “The Coming Revolution: Because Status Quo Missions Won't Finish the Job” and
“Finish: Starting Is Easy, but Finishing Makes the Difference.”
** A people group is defined as “…the largest group within which the Gospel can spread as a church planting movement without encountering barriers of understanding or acceptance."
Source: "What Is a People Group?" Joshua Project, n.d. Web. 02 Nov. 2016. <https://joshuaproject.net/resources/articles/what_is_a_people_group>.
*** The Joshua Project (https://joshuaproject.net/) reports that out of 16, 542 people groups, 6, 700 (40.5%) are still unreached. This means that out of a population of 7.38 Billion, the unreached total 3.11 Billion, (42.1%).