I was struck this week by the comments of a very famous American military/political figure when he said, “I know helping the poor around the world is important, but right now we need help in America! Forget about the poor in Africa and elsewhere! That’s nice in “normal” circumstances, but we need to save America NOW!” Let me tell you, when you’ve spent the last 24 years of your life engaged with reaching lost people groups, traveling around the world to videotape some of those groups, and trying hard to mobilize western churches for missions, words like THAT can put you in a mood that reflects SOMETHING OTHER than the “Christmas spirit”!
About that same time, I heard the words of a Nigerian pastor (through a group of international missionaries and mobilizers that we network with online) speaking to his congregation about the need to GO and take the Gospel of Christ to others in their nation and the world. He said, “I know churches hate the thought of empty seats, but how will we know that you have gone unless your seat is empty? There is a difference between a reason and an excuse! There is no winning until there is a going! ‘How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the One of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?’ (Romans 10:14).” This pastor was obviously making cross cultural missions a high priority in his church, and God bless him for doing that! And, yes, Nigeria is a nation with its’ own host of problems…not the least of which is the massive persecution of Christians by terrorists!
Yes, America is in a mess, and, yes, it’s important that all of us work to regain the integrity of our political system, working with the homeless, restoration of the family, the unborn, etc. But no where in the Bible did Christ say, “GO and make disciples of all nations….well, unless something really bad happens back home, then forget about the nations! Stay home!” NO! Our obligation as Christians is to pray for our leaders, serve in our nation, AND serve the lost and the least of those who have not even heard of Jesus Christ! This is Christmas. Let us continue to show His love to others overseas through our time, our talents, and our treasure.