Editorials

Focused on the Task

Keeping the right perspective

Let us not forget that God wants to save people from every tongue, tribe and nation ... Israelis and Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists, Shiites and Sunnis, Atheists and Animists. 1 Timothy 2:4 states that the Lord "will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth." Our Lord Jesus Christ is in business of saving souls, and we should be too. I believe that we as Christians must keep in mind a few simple things.

In the history of mankind, world events have always been pieces of God´s larger plan. The Roman Empire, for example, constructed one of the largest networks of roads ever built. This magnificent work was not only pivotal to the spread of the gospel, but also to the future destruction of the empire itself. Ironically, the invaders used the very same roads the Romans had built to destroy the Empire that persecuted believers. This was another event in God´s unfolding plan to bring about a witness of our Lord Jesus to all nations, which must precede His second coming (Matthew 24:14).

God´s plan continues to move forward through world events and His will is going to be accomplished regardless of our analysis or interpretation. However, we can certainly get involved in more strategic, powerful and Biblical ways.

When we see international conflicts in the headlines, we should not forget that thousands of native missionaries are fighting the real battle–the spiritual battle–on the frontlines. These faithful workers are sharing the gospel message inside of their own countries. Many are working among one of the largest religious strongholds in the world: Islam. They are risking their relationships with their families, their freedom and, in many cases, their lives.

Indigenous ministries in Islamic regions receive very little support from Christians in the West. Meanwhile, Muslim countries are investing billions of dollars in Islamic work throughout the world. We know that Muslims bring people to their faith by supplying the needs of the common people through other Muslims inside of those countries. They invest in missionary training, literature, mosques, schools, housing, clinics and other development projects in Africa, Asia and elsewhere.

With these projects, they gain the favor of the population. Eventually they become part of the law-making entities within the countries, in the hope of establishing Sharia law and creating Islamic states. Just look at Nigeria, Africa´s most populous country. Many regions within the country have already been Islamized . . . and the investment continues.

Christian Aid is in contact with hundreds of indigenous ministries worldwide. These gospel workers do not have the resources that many times are wasted in our part of the world. But they have the power of the Holy Spirit in their lives and the Word of God. They also know their culture and language. I am convinced they could do a lot more if we would get behind them financially and pray to the Lord, believing that He will bring about major breakthroughs for them.

Years ago, I visited a ministry supported by Christian Aid in a Muslim country. The believers told me the story behind the construction of their church building. Before a roof was constructed, hostile Muslim neighbors would throw rocks over the top of the walls in an attempt to stone the builders. The builders pressed themselves against the walls and waited until the Muslims were tired and left. Then they would get back to work. Almost every day, for the next few months until the construction was finished, their persecutors harassed them.

Today, a vibrant church of more than 300 former Muslims, as well as a Bible Institute, which trains dozens of workers, exists because of the persistence of those church builders to finish the task. When I asked one of the leaders how they managed to finish the construction under those circumstances, he said, "It caused us some delays, but the Lord helped us. We put all those rocks they threw at us into the construction itself."

Those believers went through all of that to reach the very same people who were attacking them...and they are now reaching them.

I believe that they are focused on the task. Are we?

SC: WEBCAM