You may be wondering why we would devote an entire month of services to Vision For The World. That’s an important and valid question! In addition to this, we could even ask:
- Why should we give money to missionaries?
- Why should we talk about missionaries during LifeGroups?
- Why should we devote ourselves to praying for people around the world?
- Why should we focus so much on “there” when there are so many needs right here?
- Why should we pray that God would send people from our church to the world when we need leaders here?
Let me give you a few reasons:
First, We focus on obedience to the King’s command
Jesus has told us to focus on teaching all nations! He has empowered the church with his Spirit to witness everywhere in the world. He has assured us that as we go and reach the world, He will be with us.
Anything less than thoughtful, disciplined, and passionate involvement in world missions does not live up to what God wants to do through us. We give because it takes money to reach people on other continents. We pray because Jesus requested that we pray for laborers. We take time to talk about missions because it is the heartbeat of God!
All through the Bible, God has expressed his desire that all people would know him. God’s vision for the world is expressed in Genesis, Psalms, the Minor Prophets, and in the entire New Testament. With this short list we haven’t even scratched the surface of God’s vision for the world.
Second, Understand that Reaching “Here” and “There” are not mutually Exclusive
Too often, we think in “either/or” instead of “both/and.” In the book of Acts, when Jesus gave the Great Commission he told us to reach both places. A church that focuses on reaching “here” to the neglect of the “there” misses the mark. A church that focuses on reaching “there” to the neglect of “here” also misses the mark.
However, there’s another force in play that requires us to consistently talk about World Evangelism. In general, when something is out of sight, it is also out of mind. If we are not careful, it is much easier to neglect the nations because they are so far removed from where we live. When we focus on reaching the world, it does not mean we ignore the needs around us.
World Evangelism is all encompassing! One man said it well, “The light that shines farthest shines brightest nearest home.”We must reach our community, there is no doubt about that. At the same time, we must reach other communities around the world.
The way we do this is by sending people from our church to the nations. We pray and give to support those going to the nations. Perhaps God would have you go “there.” Do not rule out that option! Begin by being a witness and a servant “here” for the glory of God and pray that God would direct your life to make a difference in the world.
Third, There is a Biblical Principle of Sowing and Reaping
As a church, we must understand that the way to be blessed is to give. Consider the following verse with me:
Proverbs 11:24 – “There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; And there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty.”
Two types of people (or churches) are described here.
The first category is is the giver. When a need is presented, this person gives to meet that need. Remember, giving is not limited to money. You can and should also give your time, energy, talents, and your life.
The result of scattering is increase. When we scatter, then we increase! That is sowing and reaping. To plant a field, you must scatter seed. After an extended period of time there is a harvest.
By giving money, energy, time, and people we invest in a harvest that will return our investment many times over. When we send a person to another country instead of keeping them at home, we are investing in heavenly rewards. That is the type of church we want to be.
The second category is those that hold tightly to what they have. The Bible says this person, “Withholdeth more than is meet.” This type of person or church holds onto what they have more than is healthy. You must be a good steward with what you have. However, in the name of “stewardship” we run the risk of becoming stingy. The stingy person tends to get poor.
Likewise, the church that does not give of its resources, especially its people, tends to decline. Like a pool in which water only enters and never exits; scum, disease, and death ensue.
The Dead Sea is called “dead” for a reason. It is nearly ten times saltier than the ocean. The reason is that this body of water is fed by the Jordan river, but has no outlet streams. Since water only flows into the Dead Sea, minerals are able to build up and have no way to escape. Due to the harsh environment created by the mineral content, no life flourishes in it’s waters.
Beware that your life does not become a Dead Sea by holding too tightly to our things. Let us beware that our church does not become a Dead Sea by refusing to invest our resources to reach the world.
Fourth, There Exists a Great Imbalance in the World
On your way to church, it is likely that you will pass one or more churches. Jokes are made that there are churches on every corner in Georgia. In reality it is almost true. There are many good churches in our communities.
However, a man who lives in India or China will seldom, if ever, see a church. His family will have no Christian heritage. He and his wife may never hear the Gospel of Christ. He will live and die and never have an opportunity to trust Jesus as his savior.
- In Georgia, there is a baptist church for approximately every 2,000 people.
- In Delhi, India, there is a baptist church for approximately every 3.8 million people.
Do you see the imbalance?
We live in a place of incredible spiritual heritage, amazing availability of the Gospel, and vast resources. Most people in the world do not. Therefore, we have a debt to those who do not know Jesus. Our debt is to carry the Gospel to people so that they have the opportunity to know Jesus.
This is what Paul meant when he said,
“I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise.”
Likewise, we are debtors to the world to present to them living water, the light of the world, and the Savior of the world.
We cannot allow ourselves to become distracted from the primary purpose that God left us on earth. We are here to Love God and to Love others. The most loving thing we can do is to give people the opportunity to know Jesus as their Savior.
This is why we have Vision Month.