Have you ever had a book reach out and grab you?
It happened to me recently in the library at Moody Bible Institute. Walking past shelves of missionary volumes, I was unable to resist their siren call. I made the mistake of slowing down long enough to pick up a few of the wonderful books reaching out to me. The covers were mesmerizing:
- Amid Artic Snows--A Story of Gospel Pioneers in Iceland
- James Harrington--The Merchant’s Son Who was Martyred for Africa
- In Leper land—A Record of my 7,000 Miles among Indian lepers
Many of the books included subtitles speaking of longevity in the field: “My thirty years in the jungle” or “Forty years of desert ministry.”
The longer I spent pondering these volumes of valor, the more a question nagged at me. Are we as fully committed and fully engaged in the missionary movement today as were the Martyrs of Blantyre or The Merchant’s Son Who was Martyred for Africa?
It seems like in America, more and more people do a “short term missionary project”…yet fewer consider full time missionary service. I know a number of missionaries who went to the field for a few years and called it quits.
Sure, God might well call someone to a career change. Still, I wonder. Has missions lost its mojo? Is our zeal for the Great Commission…less than great?
I’m all for “short term missions”…but not at the expense of long term missions.
Let’s resist the urge to say, “I’ve been to Africa. I did my missions thing.” Why not, instead, ask God if His adventure for your life might well be somewhere “over there” rather than here?
If the fields were “white unto harvest” in Jesus’ day, surely they are no less ready for harvest in ours!