What if God says “Go”?
Will you obey, following His lead into the mission field, or will you wait for another? When He says, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” (Isaiah 6:8), how will you answer? When you stand before your Heavenly Father, what will you tell Him when He asks why you did not go into all the world declaring the gospel?
I recently heard someone say, “If God is calling you [to missions], why should you wait for another? He means you.” God doesn’t make mistakes. When He calls you, He’s not looking for the kid next door. He’s looking for you to follow the Commission He gave in Matthew 28:19-20: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
As an MK (missionary kid), my life has been a pattern of “going.” My parents have served two separate terms in Kenya and have also served in the Middle East for a short time. We are currently living in Kenya, the country I consider home. I can personally tell you that going is hard.
Leaving everything behind is heartbreaking.
But then so is not going.
Because if we don’t go and proclaim the gospel, who will? Lives are being lost every day and we don’t think a thing of it. If someone doesn’t go, lives will continue to be lost. If we don’t go, people will continue to live in darkness, never knowing the name of Jesus.
“How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in Him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!’” (Romans 10:14-15)
Friends, the world will never know about salvation through Jesus unless we tell them. Of the estimated 8 billion people living in the world today, 3.4 have never heard the name of Jesus Christ. That’s 42.5% of the world—almost half of the world’s population! That’s such a huge number when you look at how many churches and Christians are in the world. We should have reached the whole world by now.
According to the Joshua Project*, less than 1% of every dollar of Christian resources is given towards reaching the unreached. It has been said that people spend more on Halloween costumes for their pets than they do on missions to the unreached. These facts should make us weep for the plight of these people. They should make us say, like Isaiah, “Here I am! Send me.”
Over 90% of Christian missionaries work with already reached people. That means that less than 10% are dedicated to the unreached. How in the world are we to know these facts and do nothing?
God has called us to go. So, why don’t we?
Willing to Sacrifice
One of the biggest reasons more Christians don’t step onto the mission field is that we don’t want to let God take hold of our lives and use them as He desires. We don’t want to leave everything behind. We don’t want to do something no one else wants to do. We don’t want the possibility of death… and in missions, death is a real possibility.
“Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor Me…I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:3, 33).
Now, you may be freaking out a bit. Death! Do all missionaries have to die?
And the answer is, no… and yes.
Physical death isn’t demanded of every missionary, but death to self is.
We don’t like to die to ourselves. We don’t like to make sacrifices. This, however, is exactly what Jesus wants from us.
John 16:15, a verse that has been instrumental in the life of our family says, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He may give it to you.”
Christ has chosen us to go. He wants us to bear fruit. He has called us, and He has told us that He will never leave us. These promises should make us want to do anything He asks. He is for us, who can be against us?
If you’ve read this far and believe God is calling you to overseas missions, there are a few things you can do to prepare yourself right now.
– First, if you don’t know where God is calling you, pray and ask Him to guide your steps. He might give you a direct answer as to where you are to serve, but He might tell you to wait awhile before He tells you. His Word tells us we should pray to Him in 1 Peter 3:12 “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
– Second, the best thing you can do is to dive deeper into His Word and determine what you believe and why you believe it. It will be challenged, and you will need to know what and why you believe what you believe. If you’re looking at what to do after high school, consider going to a missionary training school or a Bible college before you go on the mission field.
– Third, you can learn the language. There are so many online language programs to choose from, that you can surely find something in the language you’re looking at. If you don’t know where God is calling you or what language to learn, start by learning a language you’re interested in. Even though you may never end up using the language, it will give you an idea for how languages work and how they are formed.
-Fourth, look at going on a short-term mission trip. I say this with mixed feelings because I don’t think short-term mission trips really accomplish much for the people you’re going to serve. I do know, however, that the mission trip will change you much more than the people you’re going to serve.
Hold the Rope
When William Carey was about to leave for India, he told his close friends and supporters, “If you will hold the rope, I will go down into the pit.” In other words, if they would give him support and prayers from home, he would be enabled to go and serve. All missionaries need someone to hold the rope.
Even though you might be young, you are completely capable of holding the rope in some way.
1 Timothy 4:12 says “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, and in purity.”
The first way you can hold the rope is probably the simplest and easiest. You can pray. All people, most especially missionaries, need prayer. Because of their service to God and man, they are highly susceptible to the schemes of the evil one.
And you don’t just need to pray for missionaries. You can pray for that 42.5% that has never heard the Gospel. The Bible expressly tells us we are to do this in 1 Timothy 2:1 “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people.”
The second way to hold the rope is to encourage the missionaries and MKs you know. Missionaries are easily discouraged and new MKs (and even old ones) often struggle with leaving friends, family, and what has always been known as home.
The last way is probably the most life-disturbing for you. You and your family can give to missionaries across the globe. And this doesn’t just mean once-a-year gifts. Those are appreciated, but the way missionaries can do what they do is to be funded monthly by a group of dedicated supporters.
Proclaim to all the World
I challenge you today to look at where you are and what God wants of you. I challenge you to go into all the world and preach the gospel (even if that means starting next door). I challenge you to go that it may be said of you “I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world” (Romans 1:8).