But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all of Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth
In just over three weeks Tabernacle will be sending 12 missionaries overseas to Guatemala. While the team will be assigned many different tasks, the primary undertaking is to assist vocational missionaries in constructing additional housing for orphans at The Good Shepherd Children’s Home, a partner ministry of the Baptist Children’s Homes of NC. Clearly, such a major endeavor is costly. Some might even wonder if it’s too costly…
“Surely,” we might reason, “we already have our fair share of human misery and need right here in Raleigh. Why in the world would we be spending our valuable and limited resources down there when we have plenty of opportunities right here? Is this worth it?” It’s a legitimate question, and it merits a thorough response.
1. At their best, Baptist missions have always been characterized by a both/and dynamic, not an either/or dynamic. Jesus issued all-inclusive instructions for his first disciples and for us, their spiritual descendants. Jesus didn’t say Jerusalem OR the ends of the earth; He said Jerusalem AND the ends of the earth. We support both “home” missions and “foreign” missions.
2. We follow an Infinite God who possesses infinite resources. As finite and sinful human beings we wrongly assume we’re living in a zero-sum world—“If I help that person I must be withholding something I could use for myself or someone else.” But such thinking fails to trust that the Lord is sovereign enough to encompass both Raleigh and Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. Who are we to claim that what God is doing in Raleigh is more significant than what God is doing in Guatemala? When the power of the Holy Spirit moves us to go, we go—regardless of where the Spirit sends us. Consider the Macedonians who gave generously and sacrificially to alleviate the needs of people they had never met, all despite the likelihood of depriving themselves of much-needed help (cf. 2 Cor. 8:1-6).
3. We’ve been charged by our Savior to make disciples of all nations (Matt. 28:19-20). Despite what we might prefer, we’re not entitled to withhold the gospel from any people group. On the contrary, when we carry out missions to the ends of the earth we can already see a foreshadowing of that glorious Day when the redeemed from every tribe, nation, and tongue will stand before the Throne and the Lamb of God (Rev. 7:9).
So, is it worth it? Here’s what I believe with all my heart: it’s worth it because Jesus says it’s worth it.