Why Go?

Posted on October 7, 2011 by Dr. Jerry Rankin in Devotional Reflections

Why did Jesus tell us to go? After all there are many ways to take the gospel to the nations without actually going. We can send money to support national evangelists to reach their own people and near-neighbor cultures. We can send Bibles and literature to be distributed or sponsor radio broadcasts and other forms of media. In a modern age of technology and communication there are an abundance of strategies through which the Great Commission can be fulfilled without actually going.

However, God continues to call out people from churches in the West to go. He compels them to leave comfortable homes and successful vocations and ministries to plant their lives among the lost peoples of the world who need to hear the gospel. No matter the expense or complexities of cross-cultural witness we have no choice but to be obedient to the Savior’s call, and churches have a responsibility to provide the support to send them.

But why does He continue to call His people to go–to leave houses, and families and land to take the message of His love to the nations when there are other means, ways that our more efficient and do not demand such sacrifice. I think it is because of what we call an “incarnational witness.”

Ezekiel 36:23 says, “Then shall the nations know that I am the Lord, declares the Lord God, when I am hallowed in you before their eyes (NKJV).”  When the nations and peoples of the earth see the holiness of God’s people, they will know they represent and serve the living and true God. When pagans and those locked into bondage to false religious worldviews see the reality of Christ in our lives they will be drawn to the life-changing power of the gospel.

Missionaries do many things in the way of effective ministries, but God calls them to plant their lives among people who are lost, not primarily to fill a job assignment. Their role and ministry is simply a presence that allows them to live out in flesh and blood the reality of their faith. When people see Christian character, godly compassion and a life of integrity and holiness being lived out before their eyes, it provides credibility for a verbal witness.

There is no more powerful witness that a victorious Christian life reflecting the life-changing grace of God as it is lived out in practical expressions before those who do not know Christ. I have heard numerous converts around the world say, “I don’t remember what the missionary said, but I’ll never forget the life he lived and how he loved me.”

The reason God continues to call out missionaries to go is so that they can live out their faith in flesh and blood before a lost world. But that is not a mandate and divine strategy for missionaries alone. Is not that what God has called each of us to do wherever we are? How the world would be attracted to God if they saw His holiness in us!

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