In discussing outreach it is easy to skip over missions as obvious. But it is easy sometimes to take the familiar for granted. We can feel it has always been there and will always be there and we do not need to put any special effort into it. For evangelical Christians, missions can be one of those things. We have heard the commandments to take the gospel to all nations (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8; Luke 24:46,47). We have attended missionary conferences, heard missionary speakers, and listened to missionary appeals until maybe we are a bit tired of it. Maybe we give a little when we are in the mood or when we hear a particularly good appeal, or somewhat regularly just to salve our conscience, but we do not take the whole thing too seriously. I can sympathize with this feeling because I am in danger of doing the same thing myself. I do not know of a simple cure for this mindset, but I would like to offer some considerations to put this in perspective.
We are to be imitators of Christ in how we approach life (Philippians 2:5-11; Ephesians 5:1,2; Romans 8:29,30). If Christ was willing to make so great a sacrifice that we can come to God (Romans 5:6-8; 1 Peter 2:24,25; Colossians 2:13-15), should we not be willing to put in a special effort that others may hear (Colossians 1:28,29; 2 Timothy 2:10; 2 Corinthians 5:14,15)? Further, if it is Christ’s purpose that those who have not heard should hear, should we not desire to be part of that (Romans 9:25;26; Ephesians 2:15-19; 2 Corinthians 5:20)? Also, there were those who put in a special effort that we might have the Gospel. So given the need, we should be concerned to help bring the Gospel to others.
I am not trying to lay a guilt trip on anyone. (Guilt trips are not helpful: the scenery is awful, the food is bad, and the main thing it motivates us to do is not to go there again.) But I am calling each of us to consider, have I taken missions for granted? Have I left it on the back burner when it should be a more important part of my life? I am not about to dictate what you should do for missions or to claim that I know what you do is not enough. But I would urge you to turn to God and ask Him the question whether you are really doing what you should be doing. Are there things you could and should give up and use the money, time, and effort to help reach people for Christ? When I point this out, I realize there are three fingers pointing back at me. But I cannot ignore the fact that there is a Scriptural demand here that needs to be met. And if we do not do it, who will?