TIM COALTER | PRESIDING BISHOP
Most of us are self-absorbed with daily living. After working all day, caring for the needs of our home, engaging in the ministries of our local churches, and participating in the affairs of our communities, there is often little room for margin in our lives. We busy ourselves from morning ‘til night then we do it all again the next day, and the next, and the next. This isn’t a criticism; it is simply the reality of life. The daily grind can be all-consuming.
What, then, are we to do with the Great Commission which beckons us to look beyond ourselves, go, and make disciples of all nations? How are we to preach the gospel to every creature? Have we not been empowered by the Spirit to carry the witness of Jesus to the ends of the earth?
Global Missions provides each of us the opportunity to expand our horizons and engage in a world beyond our own. Recently, my attention was drawn to the ninth chapter of Matthew’s Gospel. As the chapter begins, Jesus gets into a boat, crosses over a sea, and comes to his own city (which many believe to be the city of Capernaum). While there, he forgives and heals a paralytic (vv. 2–8), calls Matthew to follow him before also sharing a meal with other tax collectors and sinners (vv. 9–13), entertains the questions of the Pharisees about fasting (vv. 14–17), raises a girl from death to life and heals a woman who has carried an infirmity for 12 years (vv. 18–26), heals two men who are blind (vv. 27–31), and delivers a man who is mute and demon possessed (vv. 32–34).
The daily challenges that Jesus encountered in his home area were all-consuming. Wherever he turned, he was met with urgent needs. This was his “daily grind.” Yet, he never succumbed to myopic (nearsighted) vision, seeing only the need of those in this one city. Instead, Jesus expanded his horizon by going to all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.
If we will follow our Lord’s example, we will find “Going” to be transformational. First, our eyes will be opened. Nothing can open one’s eyes like actually going. . . not reading, praying, or hearing the stories of others. We will find it to be transformational as we go beyond our own daily grind, our comfort zones, and familiar surroundings to enter other parts of the world and experience their cultures, hear their languages, and learn of their needs.
When Jesus went beyond his home base of Capernaum and saw the multitudes, Scripture says that he was moved with compassion for them because they were weary and scattered like sheep having no shepherd. When we go beyond our own cities, we, too, will be moved with compassion for a world in need of Jesus. However, if we fail to go, compassion will soon give way to indifference; hearts will be hardened, and eyes will be blinded to the needs that lie beyond our own localities of ministry. Earlier generations were so moved that they felt compelled by the Spirit to go into all the world. As a result of their efforts, we can rejoice that the Church of God of Prophecy is established in 135 nations around the world. Surely, this flame that burned so brightly in the Church’s formative years can be reignited once again in a new generation.
Will you consider expanding your reach beyond your home-base of ministry? Will you go and see with your own eyes the needs of human suffering and the depravity of souls that are lost without Christ? Will you allow your heart to be moved with compassion for men, women, boys, and girls all around the world who were created in the image of God? People of compassion make a difference (Jude 1:22). You can make a difference. During this month of Global Missions Emphasis, in addition to giving your financial resources and prayers, I want to challenge you to take the next step of going, seeing, and allowing your heart to be moved with compassion.
The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. I’m praying the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers—that’s YOU and ME—into His harvest. Together, we can Reconcile the World to Christ Through the Power of the Holy Spirit!