Recently, I watched a video by Paul Washer and HeartCry Missionary Society calling young people to work the missions field. For your convenience, I have embedded the video below. The 10-minute message makes a number of points, such as making missions seem to be a higher calling than writing a blog or doing creative work that glorifies God. Man of Paul Washer’s messages have come across as overkill to me in the past. Yet, while he presents his argument most calmly in this one, I cannot help but feel after watching it that I missed some kind of boat.
It would struggle to argue against him, however. At least, from a Biblical standpoint. After all, one does not hear about those who wrote poetry and painted art for God in the New Testament, but you read the stories of the martyrs who gave up their lives to preach God in dangerous lands. Regardless, the message is clearly aimed at young people without marital obligations, a camp I no longer have a part in. So, what about the rest of us not called or capable of going into a ministry in some third world country?
First, I would stress the importance of living a holy life to everyone regardless of their position in life. 1 Peter 1:16 says, for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” I think that gets overlooked a lot. We must live according to God’s Word, learning to love God and our fellow man first and foremost. All of the ‘good works’ of evangelism or worshiping God mean little when we attempt to do so with sinful hearts.
Second, we must look at our callings. The Bible makes it clear that each of us have spiritual gifts and roles. 1 Cor 12 and Eph 4 give us a good overview. As you can see, God calls each of us according to His purposes. Some of these gifts work well for preaching the Word of God in foreign lands, though not all.
Third, we must look at our position in life. As Paul Washer states, he talks mostly to the young people without entanglements who have strength of body. Those with families and other responsibilities may find it difficult to leave without breaking other commands of God. God is not an author of confusion. If you feel that you have a calling to go evangelize in foreign lands, but have God given responsibilities here in this country, consider that you should prepare now for when you have availability to leave.
Another option for those who have that calling, but cannot leave the country, does exist. We can evangelize in our own nation. From street preaching to handing out tracts, numerous ways to actively engage others in your city and spread the gospel do exist. Paul Washer implies that other countries who have not heard the message at all need our attention more, however, one can find plenty of dark areas in our own cities where God’s message needs preaching.
Finally, for those who have a calling to blog, write and create beautiful things in praise to God, I say the following as one who received that same calling from God. While Paul Washer’s message may push you off a bit, keep in mind Jesus’ commandment. Mat 28 says, 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
I feel that even for the Christian creator, we must be out there spreading God’s Word. Jesus’ commands all of us to make disciples… and while our work certainly helps do that, we must engage with others directly, as well. Jesus commands us to love one another, and we cannot do that if we live in an ivory tower always writing. We must spend time reaching out to our fellow man…and in taking the risks, feeling the pain and counting the cost that such work entails, we will learn a context and depth to our creative work that would not exist otherwise.