MISSIONARY, (noun) One sent to propagate religion. Christian missionaries are called missionaries of the cross. (Webster’s 1828 Dictionary) Are believers in Jesus Christ called to be missionaries? The first century believers considered the Great Commission of Christ a personal command.
Mat 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Mat 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
They did not doubt that these words of Christ were for each one of them personally. They indeed heeded the command which we maybe erroneously refer to as a call. If they considered this their own command or call, shouldn’t the 21st century believer do so as well? They obeyed this command in such fashion that it was said of them that they turned the world upside down. (Acts 17:6) Their response to the Lord’s command was clearly evident to the unbelievers of their day. They demonstrated the command by their obedience and the results were phenomenal. “These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also;” Believer, have you accepted Christ’s command as your own? If not, will you today?
There is a great need, and I quote. “ There are nearly 7.5 billion souls alive today but only a few thousand missionaries on foreign fields to tell them of Christ. If ten thousand Bible-believing missionaries were evenly spaced throughout the world, each missionary would need to reach nearly a million people. This would be like one preacher trying to reach the entire population of Ft. Worth, Texas. We simply need more laborers, thousands more! (Matthew 9:37 Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; 38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.) Unless some terrible world-wide catastrophe occurs, the population is only going to increase, and unless a spiritual wakening occurs, the number of missionaries will decrease. …No one would disagree that we need more missionaries, but missionaries don’t spontaneously appear. They must be developed.” (Rex Cobb, Baptist Bible Translators)
The local church has resigned itself to sending money instead of people, for almost no one is surrendering to go in most churches. Is the financial substitute acceptable to God? Financial support is good and necessary, but it is not developing new missionaries. Do we as believers expect our children and grandchildren to be missionaries?
Not only is their little interest in developing missionaries in the church, the financial support is in a decline. At present, our church, Good News Baptist Church supports partially about forty-five missionaries or mission boards. Somehow, we have been able to send our gifts to them, but not without some lean times. Fewer members are involved in Mission Giving than ever before. Would to God, each member would accept the command personally and go out into the highways and hedges? Would to God, each member would freely give financially so that the ones who have gone could be cared for?
Around 2006, I took a mission trip to Haiti with one of our missionaries to help build his house. It was a block and cement building with bars for the windows, no glass, or wooden casings. The only electricity was from a generator that was sparingly used because the cost of the gasoline was so high. Yet the church was full; the singing and preaching was joyful. The impact on the community of voodoo worship was clearly noticeable. I visited the neighborhood with their young preacher boy who went to their Bible Institute in the morning and visited in the afternoons. I now have a greater respect for our missionaries and have little problem going or giving.
What about you? Will you go? Will you give?