To the Ends of the Earth?
I was just jamming out to some of my favorite tunes on my computer and the song “To the Ends of the Earth” by Michael Gungor began to play. Being the musical person I am, naturally, I began to sing along. Then, I got to the chorus.
“Jesus, I believe in You and I would go
To the ends of the earth
To the ends of the earth
And I just stopped singing. Then I started thinking (something which never fails to be dangerous for me). “Would I really be willing to go to the ends of the earth for Jesus? Could I really see myself in some remote jungle or desert preaching the gospel to those who need it most?” I’d like to answer a resounding “YES!!” to those questions, but when it comes right down to it, I’m not sure what I would do.
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE going on short-term missions trips, and to date, I’ve been to three countries outside the U.S., but, it’s only ever been short-term. And it’s only ever been to [relatively] safe places that have already received quite a healthy helping of the good news. What would I say if He called me to stay longer than a couple of weeks? How would I react if He sent me to, say, North Korea? What about Istanbul or India?
I can’t help but think of Abraham. He left his pampered, comfortable, familiar surroundings for an unspecified location. I’ll give you a second or two to mull that over in your heads. God just said “go,” and offered no hints as to where he was going, and no revelation of what to expect when he got there. He simply said “Go to the place I will show you.” AND ABRAHAM PACKED UP HIS STUFF AND WENT!! (Yes, I know his name was Abram before he left his home. That’s irrelevant to this discussion)
It seems like every day there is some form of new tragedy or another. I see all these videos and hear all these horror stories of places like Sub-Saharan Africa and its battle against AIDS, war-torn cities like Juarez and Darfur, and countries that have been hit hard by natural disasters in recent days like Haiti and Japan, and my heart just breaks for those people. Add to that the over 2 billion who have absolutely no chance of hearing the gospel, and the need is just staggering.
Ah, but those aren’t the only places the need exists.
- “Well, of course not! The whole WORLD is broken. You only listed a few examples.”
That’s not what I meant.
- “Oh? What DID you mean, Brian?”
I’m glad you asked! When was the last time you said “Hello” to your next door neighbor?
- “What? What does that have to do with anything?”
Just answer the question.
- “Umm….about that….”
Sadly, many Christians, myself included, barely know the people living next door to them. Call it American Individualism, Right to Privacy, or what have you, it doesn’t matter. The simple fact is we focus the majority of our attention on those people suffering halfway around the world, being perfectly content to ignore the person right next to us who just went through an ugly divorce. Or the distraught mother across the street who just lost her child in a terrible accident. Or the small business owner at the end of the cul-de-sac who had to lay off several employees due to financial strain. Do we even know our neighbors’ names? Have we ever taken a few moments out of our day just to introduce ourselves? If you answered “no” to the above questions, you may want to adjust your habits. (“Hear that, Brian? Get off your lazy butt!”)
Jesus told us to preach the gospel not only “to the ends of the earth,” but also to “Judea” (Our neighboring cities/counties), and “Jerusalem” (Our own neck of the woods). In fact, He mentioned those first. What’s wrong with our method? What happened to preaching the gospel to “every living thing?” Granted, not everyone will respond favorably to the message, but wouldn’t you rather rest easy in the fact that you offered them the solution and they denied it than allowing them to perish in their ignorance by never once trying to explain it to them?
Some plant the seeds, some water them, and then God Himself brings the increase.
We are not guaranteed our next breath. So why do we waste so much time debating amongst ourselves about musical styles and carpet colors in our churches while the world outside our four walls is tumbling headlong into Hell? Shouldn’t we be a little more concerned about our role as Christ’s hands and feet in the world? Shouldn’t we be a little more concerned about the guys we watch the games with or the ladies in our crocheting class? This is eternity we are speaking of, after all. We have no excuses that will hold water when we’re face-to-face with the King. I just pray the Lord will see fit to blow my mind with the ways He uses me. I don’t want to be famous. I don’t want a lot of money. I just want to love on God and share His love with the world. Father, please give me an outward heart.