The Pain of Sacrifice...
Sacrifice hurts. It always cost someone or something as much as they have to give. Animal sacrifices in the Old Testament caused the animals their very being. Their life was spilt so others could be saved. It is the same with Christ, but in full completion of the redemption of humanity: His life was spilt so that others could live. He sacrificed, by obedience, through faith, and in the power of the Spirit. So many times we look at the Christian life, and especially the aspect of a missionary, as a glorified "Mission: Impossible" adventure with a godly twist. Exotic location, exciting people, fun. laughter... and the "good" stuff. The thing we often forget is that no missionary ever gets anywhere without giving something. If they do, then what they are doing is not missions, but vacation. Missions is serious business. It is to reach souls... to offer hope where despair reigns. To pour out life where death saturates. To bring freedom where bondage controls. That is what missions is about. It is not about a plaque on the wall, a title gained, or money earned... it is about reaching the lost. That is all it has ever been about. When missions becomes about something other than that, it is a manly thing, not a God thing. Can God still move in "man-driven" missions? Yes, but He is limited. The Spirit empowers missions, we do not empower the Spirit.
"The problems in missions is basically spiritual: we don't see the heathen, we don't hear their cry, we don't open our mouths, and we don't unfold our wallets." ~ WDB (Missionary to Brazil)
"The command has been to "go" but we have stayed - in body, gifts, prayer and influence. He has asked us to be witnesses unto the uttermost parts of the earth..... but 99% of Christians have kept puttering around in the homeland." ~ Robert Savage
"Jehovah's Witnesses don't believe in hell and neither do most Christians." Leonard Ravenhill
"A tiny group of believers who have the gospel keep mumbling it over and over to themselves. Meanwhile, millions who have never heard it once fall into the flames of eternal Hell without ever hearing the salvation story." ~ K. P. Yohannan
One of the things that grieves my heart so bad, being a missionary and living in a place outside the "reality" of typical United States life, is the apathy of so many Christians. I do not say this from my pedestal, because before I came here I was the same way. I firmly believe that satan has blinded us through our ignorance. We see the commercials on the TV about children starving and we turn our heads. We see the homeless man walking down the street and we go to the other side of the street so we won't have to meet them face to face. Those people are the very people Christ ministered to. WE are in danger of being the ones He said this to: "You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the mouth the heart speaks." Matthew 12:34. He said this to the "religious" leaders and people of the day. He said this to the ones who found their "spirituality" in actions and traditions. We can fool ourselves no longer. IF we belong to Christ, then our hearts will belong to Him, our minds will belong to Him, our emotions will belong to Him, our will will belong to Him. This means that we HURT for what He HURTS for; we UNDERSTAND what He UNDERSTANDS concerning sinners and the lost; we SUFFER for the lost as He SUFFERED for us; we ACT as He ACTED. This means we hunger and thirst for the lost. We actually hurt at the amount of spiritual death there is in the world today. Sin grieves us, but sinners move us. Poverty sickens us, but passion ignites us. We see the world through Kingdom eyes, not through the eyes of our flesh. We give up our rights, our expectations, our LIVES to LIVE in Him. If we are Christ's, we are not our own. "I have been CRUCIFIED with Christ; IT IS NO LONGER I WHO LIVE, but CHRIST LIVES IN ME; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by FAITH in the Son of God, who LOVED me and GAVE HIMSELF FOR ME." Galatians 2:20.
"If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our bodies. And if they perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees, imploring them to stay. If Hell must be filled, at least let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go there unwarned and unprayed for." ~ Charles Spurgeon
"The gospel is only good news if it reaches the lost in time." ~ Anonymous
"The worst crime of the desert is knowing where the water is and not telling." ~ Anonymous
"The saddest thing one meets is a nominal Christian. I had not seen it in Japan where missions is younger. The church here is a "field full of wheat and tares."" ~ Amy Carmichael
I understand the fear of giving up security, family, money, etc. to do what God has asked. It is a battle. If it wasn't, then it wouldn't be worth it. Here is the thing about redemption: it costs something. The thing being redeemed has value to the person redeeming it, and it takes something of value to be able to redeem.
"Obedience to the call of Christ nearly always costs everything to two people: the one who is called, and the one who loves that one." ~ Oswald Chambers
"Two distinguishing marks of the early church were: 1) Poverty & 2) Power." ~ T. J. Bach
"Before you can inspire with emotion, you must be swamped with it yourself. Before you can move their tears, your own must flow. To convince them, you yourself must believe." ~ Winston Churchill
"There can be no happiness if the things we believe in are different from the things we do." Freya Stark
Not all of us can give our lives to do missions. But, we all have things we can give. Some are blessed with encouraging words... encouraging words to someone who is a missionary are more valuable than gold. If you know a missionary, encourage them. I can say from personal experience that the hardest part about doing this is not having anyone to tell certain things to. When times like that hit, it is often just a kind word or a "Thinking about you" that can encourage and inspire. I am thankful for the friends I have had that could do this for me, and would do it for me. "Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." Galatians 6:2.
"God had only one Son and He made Him a missionary." ~ David Livingstone
"What are we here for, to have a good time with Christians or to save sinners?" ~ Malla Moe
"I have said that there is nothing in world or the Church, except its disobedience, to render the evangelization of the world in this generation an impossibility." ~ Robert Speer
"His authority on earth allows us to dare to go to all the nations. His authority in heaven gives us our only hope of success. And His presence with us leaves us no other choice." ~ John Stott
Some people are prayer warriors. They know how to pray with wisdom and discernment, and can intercede on behalf of others. It is not only the lost that need intercession. Spiritual battles are common to any Christian, but I have never experienced battles like I have here, in the mission's field, and I am sure any person who has spent time on the mission's field would say the same. Interceding on behalf of the lost is crucial, but interceding on behalf of the missionary ministering to those lost is just as crucial. As Paul wrote in Ephesians, "Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert in this with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints. Pray also for me, that the message may be given to me when I open my mouth to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel. For this I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I might be bold enough in Him to speak as I should." Ephesians 6:18-20. I would like to point out that this Scripture is found in the "Spiritual Warfare" chapter. Missionaries are reflections and ambassadors of Christ to people who may have never heard the Gospel of Christ before (we all are, to be honest). There is a time for boldness and a time for subtlety. Prayer cover goes for more than just warring against spirits, it goes to encourages us spiritually as well.
"If you read in history you will find that the Christians who did the most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this." ~ C.S. Lewis
"Today Christians spend more money on dog food than on missions." ~ Leonard Ravenhill
"We talk of the second coming, half of the world has never heard of the first." ~ Oswald J. Smith
"Some wish to live within the sound of a chapel bell. I want to run a rescue shop within a yard of hell." ~ C. T. Studd
Any talent you have can be used to glorify God. Have you ever thought about the talents you have and how they could benefit a missionary? Letters of encouragement, prayer, physical support, financial support, drawings, paintings, etc, etc, are all things that can benefit missionaries. It is a combined effort to reach the lost. The church is responsible not only for reaching the lost in its own backyard, so to speak, but in neighboring communities and countries as well.
"Answering a student's question, 'Will the heathen who have not heard the Gospel be saved?' thus, 'It is more of a question with me whether we, who have the Gospel and fail to give it to those who have not, can be saved.'" ~ Charles Spurgeon
"There is something wonderfully misleading, full of hallucination and delusion in this business of missionary calls. With many of us it is not a missionary call at all that we are looking for; it is a shove. There are a great many of us who would never hear a call if it came." ~ Robert Speer
"The 3.5 billion unreached people on earth would form a single line that would stretch around the equator 25 times! Can you picture 25 lines of Christless people, trampling endlessly towards Hell? Let that vision stay with you day and night." ~ Larry Stockstill
"Why wait for a call when you have a command?" ~ Bob Hughes (Missionary to the Philippines)
Missionaries spill their lives so that others may be reached.... how are you spilling your life? We all have more we can do to impact this world for Christ. It is hard to step past the security of what we know and trade it for the insecurity of what we do not know, but faith is found in what we hope for and what we do not see, not in visible things full of certainty.
"You must go or send a substitute." ~ Oswald J. Smith
"Delayed obedience is disobedience; and disobedience is sin." ~Don Hillis
"No other generation but ours can evangelize the present generation." ~ John R. Mott
"We can give less to missons this year... if the world is getting smaller." ~ Anonymous
"Then Jesus went to all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and every sickness. When He saw the crowds, He felt compassion for them, because they were weary and worn out, like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, "The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few. Therefore, pray for the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest." Matthew 9:35-38
"Too many Christians think the Great Commission is just a Great Suggestion." ~ Anonymous
"Sympathy is no substitute for action." ~ David Livingstone
"God does not want men who are distinguished, but men whom the world cannot extinguish." ~ Unknown
"Not one person in the world needs Jesus Christ less than you do." ~ Anonymous
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