Wednesday, December 16, 2015

In Case of Emergency

Have you ever ridden on an airplane? I have.

Have you ever been in an airplane crash? I have not, praise the Lord.

But it happens.

If you were in an airplane crash, would you be able to keep your wits about you and do what's supposed to be done for the maximum chance of survival for yourself, and those around you?

Don't worry, this is no airplane safety guide. Just a worldview perspective guide. Different, but ultimately more important.

Think like this: the world is a giant airplane, crashing, and all seven billion of us are on it. It takes a long while for us to crash. From the time Adam sinned until Rapture, basically. So, at least a few thousand years. It's getting worse and worse as we get closer to impact. You know, like combusting, crashing through the ozone, or.... whatever. Okay, okay, so maybe more like a rocket crash than an actual airplane crash. Stick with me. I do have a point.

So, the obvious path to take with this line of thinking is: accept salvation before it's too late!!

Yes! We do need saving! It's free, and it's a gift, but it must be accepted by a humble heart that believes they need it, and confesses their inadequacy. You don't need to rake your yard clean, if I've already done it for you! Just the same, you don't need to make up for your sins, when Jesus has already been there and done that! Please, if you haven't accepted Him as your Savior, do! Once this plane (or rocket) has crashed, it'll be too late. You'll have forever to regret it. Additionally, we're crashing at such a speed as to make it impossible to predict our expiration date.

And as good of a message as that is, and true, and needed, that's only the intro.

I'm going the missions route.

So, back to the plane thing. Or rocket. Whatever.

Pop Quiz! In case of emergency, what do you do? Run to the First Class section to help them get their oxygen masks first, because you've always wanted an up-close view of those luxury seats?! ummm....

That's ridiculous, am I right? You'd get your own mask situated, then all of those family members that are surrounding you, then you'd reach out to the people just beyond them, and finally, if you had time to get to First Class before impact, you'd go help them. It's pretty straight-forward.

You wouldn't jump over your family, helping none of them, nor yourself, to help a few of those strangers up in First Class... would you? Not to say that doing so wouldn't be noble, but... that's the family God gave you. It's part of your job, no matter your position in the family, to keep that family safe and unified. You remember Luke 16:10? The Lord Jesus said, "he that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much."*

Did you know that your immediate family is 'that which is least', in context of people and relationships? Be faithful to your family, and you can be trusted of the Lord with more people. But if you can't take care of your family, the Lord probably isn't going to give you more relationships. (Side note- you can get into relationships without the Lord giving them to you. Be wary of that!)

Okay, so... You're going to be a missionary in Africa?! Terrific!! Really, I'm so happy for you, that the Lord has opened those doors and given you this path. Sometimes, I wish I could pack a suitcase and jump on the plane with you (not the crashing one).

But did you just jump over your own family to rescue First Class?! ¹

Were you faithful to your own people first? Before you set out to save Papua New Guinea from the rocket's impact, did you save the United States? Or Canada, Sudan, Germany, Belize, or wherever place you might be from? Did you help your people first? Did you take care of the 'that which is least', before taking care of the others?

I'm worried that too many missionaries aren't.

It's exciting to think about traveling to the Cayman Islands and evangelizing the lost... but what about San Diego, California? Houston, Texas? New Orleans, Louisiana? St. Paul, Minnesota? Greenville, South Carolina? What about that town you're from? What about that metropolitan city that's only a couple hours from your hometown? Isn't it just as exciting to travel there to evangelize the lost? I get the feeling that it just isn't for most people.

Here are three things to consider before you decide missions means foreign.

     1. 'All the World' includes right here!

Mark 16:15b, "...go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature."

Not just that other part of the world that you aren't near or from. This part, too.

Matthew 28:19a, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations..."

'All' includes this one where you are already. Also others, but this is the one you were given to take care of first. :)

     2. This place is just as lost as that place!

America (where I'm from, so bear with me if you're not) used to be a great Christian nation. The strongest in the world, no doubt because it was founded and managed upon Bible principles. Over the past half-Century we have fallen from those principles so far that, though it might be reversible with effort, this current era will have lasting negative consequences.

A couple of years ago we had some missionaries over to our house for Sunday dinner. They are missionaries in Ukraine, but the wife/mother is from Ukraine originally, and their three daughters have only been here to the United States twice, the more recent trip being the trip that we met them during. We had good fellowship with them, but the most memorable part of the afternoon, to me, was when they were telling us how Houston looked to them, from a Ukrainian missionary's point-of-view.

They said missionaries needed to come here!

Wow. That really impacted me.

And then there's Burma. One of my good friend's mother is from Burma. Born and raised. I've never been there, yet, but I guess I would have always thought that it was just a lost nation. But, no! The entire village that my friend's mom is from is devoutly Christian!

Houston is waaayyy more lost than that. Hmm.

     3. Domestic practice, no matter!

If you are going to the foreign mission field, don't you dare wait until you're there to start working for the Lord. Trust me, witnessing isn't something you can master overnight. Some people just aren't the walk-up-to-strangers-and-interrupt-them-with-something-they-don't-want-to-hear type. Could take your whole life to really get comfortable with it. Work on it here. Use local strangers (or non-strangers!) as your guinea pigs and test subjects. Hey! Little is much, when God is in it!!

"If someone does not have a missions heart at home, nothing magical happens when they buckle the seat belt on the airplane"

-David Sills
In closing, I exhort you to go, be a missionary! Right where you are! If God does have plans for you to go foreign in the future, He'll take care of it in His own timing, as you are humbling obeying, and doing what you can for Him, wherever He has you currently.

In the giant, rocket-crashing scheme of things, let us work on saving ourselves and our families (nations!), and then going to help the others!

Every saved person is a missionary; Every unsaved person is a mission field!

For His Glory, y'all!

*Red text indicates Christ's words.
¹(Note- I know that America has it better than most places around the world, but not necessarily in terms of the Gospel.


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