Our Highest Privilege And First Priority
By Fred D. Jarvis
Masses and masses of humanity are marching on to eternity without a knowledge of Jesus Christ. Sometimes we Christians become calloused by a continual flow of crises, catastrophes and calls for help. However, we must move out of our circle of sameness and out of the valley of inertia. Truly this is a time to mobilize our money and manpower to reach a lost world that is going into eternity without Christ. Let us do our utmost to share Christ, the light of the world, to this sin-benighted generation.
The missionary problem is really a personal problem. It is the problem of the heart. How long will Christ seek in vain for channels through whom He can save the lost? How long will we refuse to place ourselves at His full disposal? How long will we be content to be selfish and unconcerned about a perishing world? How few there are today who renounce their self-interest, ease and worldly conveniences in favor of world evangelism.
May God help us to humble ourselves and confess our indifference to the task nearest the heart of God. Friends, it is time that we put missions in its proper perspective. The lack of missionary vision is often the result of too many people having lost their first love. Too many have lost their vision of a perishing world. It is time for us to recognize that we have fallen short of God’s ideals. It is time for us to take the Great Commission seriously.
Christ is asking Christians today, "Lovest thou Me?" It is not enough to glibly say, "Lord, You know I love you." We must prove our love by obedience to His long-neglected command. Truly, world evangelism in this generation is our primary obligation. It is our highest privilege and first priority. May God fire our hearts with new dedication; new devotion, and new zeal to His call and commission. Indeed, it is time for each of us to make the missionary call a personal priority. You, my friend, are the key to world evangelization. It is time that each of us cheerfully choose to obey and completely comply with Christ’s Great Commission. Otherwise, how can we have a clear conscience before God?
We missionaries have mourned the lack of missionary interest again and again. I have visited church after church where I have seen no visible evidence of missionary interest; no map on the wall to tell us where their missionaries are serving. Pictures of missionaries they support are conspicuously absent or sadder still, they do not support any missionaries. You can go to service after service where there is no prayer uttered for the cause of missions.
Never will I forget when I was ordained as a young preacher. The president of our seminary, who had been a missionary to India for many years, officiated at my ordination and preached for me in my little church. On our way back to Chicago, I asked this man of God if he had any advice for me as a young preacher.
He said, "Yes, Brother Jarvis, I do. My wife and I have been with you for these several days, have seen you in the pulpit, and heard you pray. We have watched you in many situations, but we haven’t once heard you say a thing about the need of world missions." And it was true, my friends. It was years later that God touched our hearts and revealed to us that the mission of the church is missions.
Oh, friends, we must be vitally interested in Christ’s worldwide redemptive work. Only repentance and revival will produce the radical change necessary in our missionary outlook. If our church is weak, then the best remedy is to put it on a missionary diet. I fully believe that if the Church were right with God and full of the Holy Spirit, that within twenty years this whole world would be evangelized!
Let’s thank God for all that has been done, but we could do far more if we were to take to heart the clarion call of the Great Commission: "And Jesus came and spake unto them saying, All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen" (Matt. 28:18-20).
May God give us more Christians with devotion and Christlike passion and a vision to win the world for the Savior!
– From Quest For The Best by Fred D. Jarvis (1914-1990). Copyright © New Life Advance International. Used by permission.