Friday, March 02, 2012

A Missionary Call For All Christians

Photo Credit: rimabek
Robert Speer was a leader of The Student Volunteer Movement that began in the late 1800's and continued onto the mid 1900's. Speer's commitment to world missions and his faithful calling of others to this noble pursuit is admirable.

He had the following to say when asked how someone could know they had a special call from God to go to the mission field:
"What constitutes a missionary call? It is a good sign that men ask this question. First, because it suggests that they think of the missionary enterprise as singularly related to the will of God. Second, because it indicates that they believe their lives are owned by a Person who has a right to direct them and whose call they must await. But when we have said these two things, I think we have said everything that can be said in favor of the question because, far too often, it is asked for thoroughly un-Christian reasons. 
For instance, Christians will pursue a profession here in the United States having demanded far less positive assurance that this is God's will than it is for them to go out into the mission field. But by what right do they make such distinctions? Christianity contends that the whole of life and all services are to be consecrated; no man should dare to do anything but the will of God. And before he adopts a course of action, a man should know nothing less nor more than that it is God's will for him to pursue it. 
If men are going to draw lines of division between different kinds of service, what preposterous reasoning leads them to think that it requires less divine sanction for a man to spend his life easily among Christians than it requires for him to go out as a missionary to the [lost]? If men are to have special calls for anything, they ought to have special calls to go about their own business, to have a nice time all their lives, to choose the soft places, to make money, and to gratify their own ambitions. 
How can any honest Christian say he must have a special call not to do that sort of thing? How can he say that, unless he gets some specific call of God to preach the Gospel to the [lost], he has a perfect right to spend his life lining his pockets with money? Is it not absurd to suggest that a special call is necessary to become a missionary, but no call is required to gratify his own will or personal ambitions? 
There is a general obligation resting upon Christians to see that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is preached to the world. You and I need no special call to apply that general call of God to our lives. We do need a special call to exempt us from its application to our lives. In other words, every one of us stands under a presumptive obligation to give his life to the world unless we have some special exemption. 
This whole business of asking for special calls to missionary work does violence to the Bible. There is the command, "Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature." We say, "That means other people." There is the promise, "Come unto Me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest." We say, "That means me." We must have a special divine indication that we fall under the command; we do not ask any special divine indication that we fall under the blessing. By what right do we draw this line of distinction between the obligations of Christianity and its privileges? By what right do we accept the privileges as applying to every Christian and relegate its obligations to the conscience of the few?"
Of course, if all of us went to the mission field there would be no one left to help missionaries get to the field. So the question we have to ask ourselves as Christ-followers and as it pertains to world missions is this: Does God want me to go or does he want me to be someone that helps send others? May all those who call Christ Lord consider the role that He desires for them in the advancement of His kingdom.

1 comment:

Ugena Moses said...

Excellent post, Scott! I'm currently reading Revolution in World Missions and that is the basic premise of the book. I think often, especially in America, we neglect the role of ALL Christians as missionaries whether the Lord sends us abroad or desires to use us to share His glorious Gospel with those here in the U.S.