If our master returned today to find millions of people un-evangelized . . . he would look to us for an explanation. I cannot imagine what explanation we should have to give . . . Of one thing I am certain – that most of the excuses we are accustomed to make with such good conscience now, we should be wholly ashamed of them.
James Fraser served as a missionary in China for more than 30 years. He worked among a minority people group, the Lisu. He died suddenly but left a legacy of faithful service. You can read about his life in Mountain Rain by Eileen Crossman.
The numbers of unreached people in the world is staggering. I have a clock outside my office that runs a statistical analysis of births, deaths, those hearing about Christ, and those not hearing. As of 5 minutes ago this clock showed a world population of 7,242,912,750. Of this number, 3,865,908,003 people lack adequate opportunity to hear the gospel. This either means they have never heard the gospel or the gospel is so seldom shared in their country that it is nearly impossible to hear and believe. Do you really believe that Jesus finds this statistic acceptable? I don’t. He gave his life for the sins of the world. He commissioned his followers to make this message known to the ends of earth. Have we obeyed? So many are content to stay, when Jesus has commanded us to Go.
James Fraser points out that many of us have excuses that sound reasonable in our current context but, in the face of the staggering statistics do they stand? Do we really want to give an account to Jesus for how so many have not obeyed? Parents, if you cannot imagine going as a missionary to an unreached place or people. Will you raise your children to go? Will you let them know that his will and his command must be the first thing we consider in answering the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
Lord, forgive me for not even thinking about going. Will you break my heart for the lostness of the world? Will you not let me be comfortable until I know that I am doing all I can to obey your command and fulfill your commission.
Scott Hildreth is the director of the Lewis A. Drummond Center for Great Commission Studies. He frequently speaks on issues of missions, spiritual formation, missiology, and theology. Scott also contributes to SEBTS faculty blog www.betweenthetimes.com