David Platt is president of the International Mission Board.
RICHMOND, Va. (BP) — Why should every Christian say to God, “I will pray however You want me to pray, I will give whatever You want me to give and I will go wherever and whenever You want me to go” — whether it’s to that dangerous area in your city, or to a distant part of North America, or anywhere else in the world He might lead you?
Because we have an incomprehensibly glorious God. Because we are a sinfully lost people. Because we have a merciful Savior willing to die in our place. And because we have an indescribably urgent mission.
Read Isaiah 6:1-13 and you will hear the personal testimony of an unworthy servant — just like you and me — who was cleansed and called by a holy God to proclaim the Gospel. What was Isaiah’s first response after beholding the holiness of God? “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” (v.5).
We might think, “Relax, Isaiah. You’re overdoing it.” But we would be tragically wrong.
We are a depraved people, just as Isaiah and the Israelites were depraved. Our sin leads directly to the wars and suffering and condemnation that afflict the world today. How can we stand before an incomprehensibly great God and not be condemned? Isaiah felt the same way. He cries out in depravity — and the Lord responds in mercy. God commands a seraph to take a burning coal from the altar, touch Isaiah’s lips and say, “Your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for” (v.7).
How can a holy God say to guilty sinners, “You are not guilty”? In Isaiah 53, this same penitent prophet foretells that Christ, the servant, will endure the penalty of sin and take the place of sinners. What mercy! An incomprehensibly great God saves a sinfully lost people through a merciful Savior.
What kind of response does such divine compassion compel? Isaiah’s example is clear. Such mercy compels the commitment of our lives. Our voices. Our all. “Who should I send?” He asks (v.8, HCSB). When more than 2 billion people have no access to the Gospel, is there anything greater to give your life to than declaring the Gospel of this God? Every unreached person in the world has knowledge of God, whether it’s a man in an African jungle, a woman in an Asian village, a nomad in a remote desert — or the newly arrived immigrant family in your community. They all have enough knowledge of God to show them that He is incomprehensibly glorious and they are sinfully lost. But that’s all they have.
That’s why we must go to them because the Gospel is powerful enough to save them and satisfy them forever.
And they are here — in our great North American urban centers and the countless communities that surround them. More than 80 percent of the people on our continent now live in metropolitan areas. Our North American missionaries, our Southern Baptist state conventions, our associations and our churches must reach them to be faithful to God in our day. And praise God for how the North American Mission Board is leading all of us to do just that.
As we approach the Easter season and celebrate the resurrection of our Savior, I challenge you to give generously and sacrificially to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering. What your church gives will help support missionaries, fuel church planting and church revitalization efforts across North America and mobilize believers — including you — to reach the unreached among us.
“Who should I send?” our Lord asks. Let your response be: “Here I am. Send me!”