The following article was written by Matt Cretzman.
And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. Matthew 28:18-20
Faith makes all the difference in everything we do. We often struggle with allowing faith to be the final factor when making tough (or everyday even) decisions. And yet I think if we will be honest with ourselves, faith may have been somewhat of a missing ingredient even in our approach to mission work, especially in regard to location.
Think about it: why would Jesus preface His final and most important command with, “All power is given unto me”? And then conclude it by saying, “I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world”? It’s almost as if He were trying to overemphasize the fact that He wanted the believers (then and now) to “dream big” in reference to the great commission; bigger than the obstacles He knew we would face. The truth of that verse is to literally and obediently “go into all the world.” Yet it is almost as if when we finally reach this point of understanding (that we’re to go into all the world) that, because Christ has all power (for us to go everywhere) and because He is always with us (so we could go everywhere) it causes us to agree with a shoulder shrug, “Huh. I guess He really meant that! (to go everywhere!)”
Let me be real – as a teenager when I seriously began seeking God for what country I should go to as a missionary, the thought process went something like this: “Ok, let’s see…there’s Africa..there’s the Philippines…Iraq? Nope, can’t go there. Um…Mexico would work. North Korea? Nope, closed. Jamaica would work…or Dominican Republic. Cuba? Nope, communist country.”
I think 95% of teenagers would agree that this is usually the dialogue they have when they are at the point of being called and the question becomes “where.” I saw this a lot in the last 3 years of travelling the country when I spoke with a lot of teens. Deep down inside there are some reservations about going to these “closed countries.” Intimidation, fear, reality of possible death, incarceration, or even torture; yes, they are all real possibilities. But those are real possibilities no matter where you go! The only thing worth considering is the fact that Christ said, “all power is given unto ME” and, “I AM with you alway!” The One to Whom all power belongs goes with you no matter where you and I go! For fear of sounding a bit kamikaze and insensitive, I have to say that I get the fear part. As a man I want to ensure that my family is safe, that my children are taken care of. But, ultimately, we cannot control any of that. I know first hand. So, going back to the point, we must exercise faith in the selection process. Faith in the God Who knows what is best for us and Who knows what great things He wants to do and can do through us.
The ratio of UPG workers the total unreached world is: 1 missionary for every 278,431 people.
If everyone is obeying God’s “calling” to be a missionary wherever they are then God is calling 99.9995% of people to work among the 44.3% of the world population that already have the gospel, and calling virtually no one (.0005%) to relocate among the other 53.7% of the world population that are not Christian. You have a better chance of being in a plane crash than being one of the few missionaries to the unreached out of the total 2 billion Christians in the world.
Now, obviously there is more to it than just “choosing where you want to go as a missionary.” For me, going on missions trips sealed the deal, so to speak. But the fact of the matter is everything we do starts with a thought. The devil knows this!
5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; II Corinthians 10:5
And the thought of going to North Korea as a missionary, or Kazakhstan, or Cuba will never happen if we do not create an awareness of the need!
So in this world of progressive danger, difficulty, and increasing intolerance to believers I propose we stress something in reference to missions to this generation and the next: in order to reach the unreached and get into the “closed countries” all we must do is go; because He goes with us! And it starts by creating an awareness of the need. Plant the seed, water it with prayer, and remember, “faith is the victory that overcomes the world!”