I’m not sure about you but throughout my life the world has broadened. Through my early education, a few travel experiences, news and social media, the awareness of the world around me grew by leaps and bounds. Once I began to experience some of those places or engage with people from various cultures, I realized something else: The world is smaller.
At our time in history people have greater access to the world than ever before. In the last century the aviation speed record was set at 2,193 mph. The Lockheed SR-71 flew from the West Coast to the East Coast in 67 minutes and 20 seconds! On land the Shanghai Maglev Train (Magnetic Levitation Train) can travel at a speed of 268 mph along its 19 mile track completing the trip in 7 minutes and 20 seconds! Though we may not travel the world at those speeds, it is still fairly easy to trot around our globe.
By internet we can now arrive anywhere in the world in practically moments. The other morning my family and I were eating breakfast when the door to my son’s room opened and he came to the table as he conversed in Arabic with a friend he had made in a refugee camp in Lesvos, Greece. He wanted to introduce him to our family and it was possible through the technology they both had on their phones.
The Consequences of a Smaller World
Our world has definitely grown smaller. There are pros and cons to this reality. In favor of a smaller world we now have access like never before to places and people. Those without Christ or who are even closed off from Christ in some countries can now access sites designed to introduce them to the good news of Jesus. God is at work in this smaller world bringing more people into a relationship with Christ than ever before. Large movements of Muslims coming to Christ have been recognized as researchers now understand that not only those adhering to Islam but many leaders themselves are following Jesus. David Garrison has a great article about this here. I encourage you to read this to see God’s activity in this way.
A negative aspect of viewing the world as smaller is that we tend to ignore what we feel is insignificant. We often become adjusted to areas of familiarity in life, not paying as much attention to what becomes commonplace. The more acquainted we become with the world around us, the more likely we are to miss opportunities that are easier but that become not as important to us.
It’s a silly example but think about shoestrings. At one time in your life you didn’t even know about shoestrings. As you grew older you saw your mom or dad messing with them as they put on your shoes, but they were still of no concern. Then that person decided you needed to tie your own shoes and suddenly shoestrings became a priority anytime you needed to go somewhere. You’re probably at a stage where you don’t even think about tying your shoes now unless it is difficult to get down there to perform this simple task. At that age you pay great attention to shoestrings or opt out for an easier way such as slip-ons.
Our Present Opportunity
What I’m trying to say is that in 2017 we have the opportunity to easily support and encourage people sharing the gospel around the world. It can become so easy that we ignore those opportunities. Just for a moment take away the financial needs missionary families face and focus on their emotional and spiritual needs they have. In times of loneliness and spiritual warfare that they may encounter on a regular basis, they desperately need to know that someone is on their side and standing in the gap with them. You can be that person by praying for a missionary and their family on a regular basis. In addition you can easily email them to let them know you are there for them. Receiving a missionary’s newsletter can keep you updated to needs in their lives as well.
At Family Life Bible Church we pledge each December to be there for our missionaries throughout the year. Those areas we engage in? Prayer for them, sending encouragement through correspondence, sharing the gospel locally and on short term trips, seeking God’s direction for mission work in our own lives, and financially. All of these areas help us to carry out what Jesus was all about while he was on this earth: Making disciples of all nations.
Why Should We Respond?
Listen, the early church had the commission to go and they sat in Jerusalem. God used a persecutor of Jesus followers to get them off their couches and into the world. He then changed Saul’s heart and the transformed Pharisee became Paul, one of the greatest missionaries of the New Testament. The church found that the world was easily accessible and a great movement of God took the gospel to a smaller world that still needed Jesus.
I’m reminded of the logic of Paul in Scripture who, in Romans 10, layed out the hope that anyone in the world could be saved when they called on the name of our Lord. In the following verses he awakes us to the reality that this happens according to God’s plan when his people are sent to a world that is smaller but that still needs Jesus.
Don’t you think it’s time for you and for all who name Christ as our Lord and Savior to wake up to the fact that our smaller world still needs Jesus? If you are thinking, “Yes!” then I’m right there with you. Let’s look ahead this year while right now in our hearts we surrender to going to make disciples of all nations and sending others to do the same where we presently can’t. Why? Our smaller world still needs Jesus!
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