Go Ye

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I’m reading a biography of Amy Carmichael, missionary to India and a few other places.

At a young age she was challenged at a missionary convention regarding the need to take the gospel to those who had not heard.

Elisabeth Elliot, who wrote this particular biography, put it this way:

Before the convention [Amy] had been pondering the agonizing question of the fate of those who had never heard of Jesus Christ. It was as though she heard “the cry of the heathen,” and could not rest because she could not gladly stay at home and do nothing about them. (A Chance to Die: The Life and Legacy of Amy Carmichael by Elisabeth Elliot, p 52)

Still, she didn’t expect that she herself would leave home to go and become the ambassador for her Lord and Savior. But she prayed.

Four years later, when God called her to serve in foreign lands, He made His will very clear to her: “It was that snowy Wednesday evening [of January 13, 1892] that the categorical imperative came, not just once but again and again: Go ye.”

Regardless, the decision was not easy. She lived in a time without air travel, internet, or even international phone service. Going to foreign places meant a long term interruption to her familial relationships. She had commitments at home.

As she struggled with what she was to do she wrote of “‘those dying in the dark, 50,000 of them every day,’ of her own longing to tell them of Jesus, and her misgivings.” (p 54)

Convinced by counsel from her mother and others, who reminded her that she was God’s and that if God asked for her, how can she but go, Amy made her decision.

She believed she was responding to God’s direct call on her life. She was to go because thousands of people were living and dying without hearing the gospel. They were lost, in need of a Savior. And she had what they needed.

I can’t help but compare what weighed on Amy with what seems to weigh on Christians today. Honestly, I don’t hear about the passion for the souls of those living in places without Christ. I hear about poverty and disease and oppression, but not as much about people dying without Christ.

So I wonder if Christians today are as concerned for the lost as we are for the needy.

We seem to believe that our mission is to help people become more comfortable, and then, when they are no longer hungry or homeless or jobless or oppressed, they’ll give thought to their spiritual condition.

But I suspect that’s not true. The early Christians had no comfort or ease to offer those they evangelized. They preached Christ and Him crucified. The preached the fellowship of His sufferings. They preached dying to self and taking up their crosses. They told those who believed to be imitators of them as they were of Christ, and then they became martyrs.

The conventional wisdom today is that people who are hungry or homeless or living in danger are not open spiritually. Their focus is on their spiritual needs. Maybe that’s so. I’m no psychologist, I’ve done no studies on the subject. I do know that people in other ages and generations made a difference spiritually because they preached Christ.

Do we need a different approach today? We’re living in a different time, witnessing to people of the 21st century. Don’t we need a 21st century strategy?

Perhaps. But I can’t help but think of Romans 10:14

How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?

God clearly cares for the needy. He chastised Israel for their treatment of orphans, widows, and strangers, and James specifies that “pure and undefiled religion” includes visiting “orphans and widows in their distress.”

But what’s the point? Our religion is to demonstrate what we believe. It isn’t to replace the commission we’ve been given to make disciples or to go into all the world to preach the gospel.

Amy Charmichael heard God’s call to “Go ye” because her heart was sensitive to the lost. May we the Church be just as heart broken over the spiritual condition of those without Christ. Yes, we can still care about their needs, but may we never be more concerned with meeting physical needs than with providing Living Water and Everlasting Bread.

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Published in: on September 12, 2016 at 7:35 pm  Comments (10)  
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10 Comments

  1. Good stuff Becky

    No, we don’t need a 21st century approach, and we don’t need a new “program,” or “method.”

    Personally I think when we all sit around trying to come up with a new way, it’s just us doing what we love to do, which is foist the responsibility for evangelism off on the “official” church people.

    It’s really quite as simply as you have said it. We just have to “go.” Maybe we all don’t do to the rain forest, but we can all go to somebody.

    This really touches a nerve, as the lack of hunger to reach the lost and the lack of heart- brokenness for them is quite distressing to me. Our attitude about it as a whole seem quite lackadaisical at times. Even in our church, which overall is a great church, there is a real tendency to think the word “Missionary” means send money somewhere. Of course, that is part of what our name means, but it is far from all of it. What it actually means is that we are all missionaries to somebody, somewhere.

    Thanks for letting me vent 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You’re always welcome to vent here, Wally! 😉

    I don’t think we need new approaches to reach people either. Paul didn’t have a drama team do a skit before he preached or have a band hold a concert as a warm-up to his sermon that lasted through the night.

    I don’t think concerts are wrong, and I certainly don’t think drama is wrong. But I don’t think those things should be what we rely on instead of the clear proclamation of the gospel.

    And yes, we are all ambassadors, not just the “professionals.” That’s one thing my former pastor stressed, and I think it’s what Scripture teaches.

    Becky

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    • Oh no..nothing wrong with those things at all! In fact, until our director retired, we had a Troupe we called the “Bethlehem players” and we did all sorts of silly shows and even some very serious things as well.

      The load we put on our pastors to take care of all of the soul winning is not fair to them, leads to burnout, and slows the spread of the KIngdom.

      If fact, if something that was fun yet serious interests you, here are me, my stepson, and a good friend providing a bit of entertainment.

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      • Fun! Thanks for sharing this, Wally. And yes, we ought not put the load we do on the pastors. We are all members of the body, with roles to play.

        Becky

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        • Ha..well someday I will show you the one where we put on dresses and sang Mama He’s Crazy by The Judds

          Very un Baptist lol

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  3. Amen! I echo this post. I see a shift of social gospel becoming priority.
    Thank you for posting this. I share Nagy of your bligs via email. I will be forwarding this one. Blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Many not Nagy. Whatever that is. Spell check on the phone. 😦

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      • Hahah!! I understand, Johanna. I’ve had more than one of my phone texts turned into something very strange that I can’t imagine how the spell check came up with such a thing. I just figured Nagy was a special friend of yours! 😀

        Becky

        Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, we’re over-correcting, I fear. Of course we are to serve the needy, but not instead of proclaiming the gospel. The troubling trend I see is a move away from tying what we do with what we believe.

      Becky

      Liked by 1 person

  4. […] via Go Ye — A Christian Worldview of Fiction […]

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