RICHMOND, Va. (BP)–We live amid a constant stream of e-mails, phone calls and blogs, but how often do we really live with purposeful urgency?
Anyone who has become caretaker for a frail parent has lived with urgency because moments together become more precious. When a loved one is in need, we set other considerations aside.
Missions volunteers fresh from the field are often re-energized to make an impact for Christ at home. But sometimes that urgency can be diffused by settling back into everyday routines and responsibilities.
How can we continue to live with urgency despite the pressures of the immediate?
Jesus reminds us in Matthew 9:37-38, “… The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few. Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.”
We must not lose our sense of urgency to reach the lost with the everlasting hope that can be found only in Jesus Christ.
Our friends at the North American Mission Board are encouraging Southern Baptists to live with urgency as they work to gather the spiritual harvest in this country, Canada and their territories.
We praise God for NAMB’s 5,600 missionaries who are sowing seeds, in partnership with state conventions, associations and local churches, through the support of the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions and the Cooperative Program.
We are to give not only when we have an overabundance of resources, but when we see that there is an overabundant need.
In a scene reminiscent of Jean-Francois Millet’s painting “The Gleaners,” a couple in Platteville, Colo., upon hearing that food had been stolen from churches, opened their 600-acre farm fields to anyone who wanted to pick up vegetables left over after their harvest. They were overwhelmed by the response — 40,000 people showed up to receive what the couple offered. Urgent needs that are unmet can lead to acts of despair and hopelessness. When three of every four people in the United States are living without faith in Christ, sharing the Gospel with urgency should be our only response.
The North American and international mission fields are connected by people groups who urgently need to know the Lord.
While most of the Bengali (a mixture of Muslims and Hindus) live in Bangladesh and India, some 54,000 make their homes in New York. An additional 3,800 live in Georgia. And of the 1.3 billion Han Chinese, the world’s largest ethnic group, more than 1.7 million reside in the United States. Their religious beliefs blend Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism.
With these souls and millions more in mind, I heartily encourage you to live with urgency by giving sacrificially to this year’s Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions.
Giving to missions at home helps the Great Commission cause overseas because having a heart for and commitment to missions can’t be contained by geographic boundaries.
“I’m convinced that God called every one of us to fulfill the Great Commission,” says Brad Bessent, pastor of Beulah Baptist Church in Hopkins, S.C.
Through prayer, this church recognized and answered God’s call to adopt an unreached people group, those with an evangelical presence of less than 2 percent. They adopted the Bambara, a West African people group of 6 million — nearly all Muslim.
Working together with IMB missionaries Steve and Susan Roach, the church set its sights on a village of about 3,000 Bambara in Mali. There were no evangelical churches in the village and no known Christians. That prompted Beulah to live with urgency.
Short-term missions teams from Beulah continued praying for the people and visiting their village every six weeks. They openly shared the Gospel with anyone willing to listen.
After nearly two years of prayer and 12 trips to the village, Beulah Baptist has witnessed more than 100 Bambara come to faith in Christ.
A yearning for all peoples come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ should cause us to live and give with urgency — whether at home or abroad.
Jerry Rankin is president of the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.