A girl that grew up in a church I pastored wanted from childhood to be a missionary. That desire never left her through her school years and she attended a local Bible college in order to be prepared to serve God. At one point, she applied to be a “Mapper,” a missionary apprentice, but the field that she applied to serve on closed as an open door at the last moment and when advised by the board under which she was serving ,the single would-be missionary lady asked, “Where can I go then?” She learned that there was a need for her help in a certain central African country and she accepted that as God’s leading and today, twenty years later, she is serving there with her husband and three children, her dreams having come true.
“Where can I go then?” What a yielded spirit! Of the approximately 276 countries in the world today, some 100 or so are “restricted” or “closed” to foreign missionaries. There are more than 24,000 people groups in the world, 10,000 of which have not yet been evangelized. The field is the world, Jesus said. There is a place to go!
David Livingstone was poised to go to China when the Opium Wars broke out and was told that it was not possible for an Englishman to go to China at that time so he would have to wait until the wars were over there. Livingstone reasoned that there was no need to wait to go; he would go to Africa instead. And, the world now knows the rest of the story!
Well-meaning friends of Livingstone, fearing for his health, safety and well-being, tried to persuade him not to go to Africa, to which he responded with His Savior’s words, “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Livingstone concluded, “That, my friends, is the word of a gentleman, so, let’s be going.”
Oswald J. Smith told of a little girl named Grace who was saved in the Dale Presbyterian church when he was in his twenties. Her heart was in India. One day her mother announced she would buy Grace a new coat to replace the worn-out, six-year-old coat that she was then wearing. Grace pleaded with her mother to let her wear the coat one more year and to give her, instead, the money she was prepared to spend on the new coat so that she could send it to her missionaries in India. Pastor Smith said that before he left Dale, Grace became gravely ill. On her death bed she made her mother promise to sell all her clothes, such as they were, and send whatever she got for them to India to the missionaries she loved and prayed for. With tears in her eyes, her mother promised to fulfill her wish. Oswald J. Smith said, “I would like to be standing somewhere near the throne when Grace gets her reward.” Her heart was in India and her money followed her heart.
Where is your heart? A leading U.S. oil company wanted to open up a division of their operations in a far eastern nation. They searched for the person best qualified to oversee the day to day operations and their search led them to a man who was a missionary. They approached him with the job description and then offered a lucrative salary if he would accept, but he declined the offer. They raised their salary offer and again he refused. Finally, the company asked, “Is the salary not big enough; you tell us what you want and it’s yours.” “Oh, no,” replied the man of God. “The salary is big enough, but the job isn’t.”
Where could you go? What could you give? What might you do?
“Our task is not to bring the whole World to Christ; our task is to take Christ to the whole world.” (A.J. Gordon, 1889)
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” (Matt. 28:19)