|Of the 55 least evangelized countries, 97% of their population lives within the "Ten-Forty Window" illustrated above.|
According to the CIA World Factbook, which is where most of my data come from, the world's population estimate by July 2011 is 6,928,198,253. Of that, two-thirds, that is 4,618,798,835, are non-Christians (that estimate excludes all Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Protestants and Anglicans). Of those, the International Mission Board estimates that somewhere around 50% of those non-Christians come from the "unreached" classification. This means that they have not had any exposure or heard the gospel message. Rounding down, that brings the number of unsaved AND unreached people to 2.3 BILLION!
Say that aloud to yourself. (don't worry, no one's paying attention to you right now) -- "2.3 billion people on this planet today stand condemned in their own sin without ever hearing the gospel."
2.3 billion people is more than 7 times the total population of the United States! How can we justify this to ourselves? Grappling with numbers this size requires some significant mental acrobatics.
Why you? Right? Why would I be addressing this to you? The reason is that we need our hearts to be broken. You need your heart to be broken for what breaks God's heart. It's part of being a disciple, a Christian, a Jesus follower and part of "the church".
One of my favorite verses of all time is John 14:27:
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.Jesus said this to the disciples, comforting them after telling them that He would be leaving soon and promising the Holy Spirit. This verse has brought me great comfort in times of distress in my life.
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)This is another one of those comfort verses that I hear people quote when comforting others. These beautiful words of Jesus are to be cherished and loved and held close to our hearts and the tips of our tongues in times of trial and distress.
What about Jesus teaching us about anxiety and trusting God?
Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?I believe, with all my heart, that his words are meant for us. I also believe that we can take His word quite literally. How literally do we take this one though?
But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
(Matthew 6:26 & 30)
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20)So if I read this correctly, this means that we all have been "called" to "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations..."
As a matter of fact, Charles H. Spurgeon once expounded, "It is the whole business of the whole church to preach the whole gospel to the whole world."
So what are we doing? Where is that sense of urgency? Did you know that the United States sends out fewer foreign missionaries each year than South Korea. That's right, South Korea, population 48 million, sends out more missionaries than the United States of America, population 313 million!!!
We need that sense of urgency back!
Look at it this way: You are on a sinking ship. People are falling overboard and drowning all around you. They just suddenly get sucked under without even a moments warning. You, well, you knew the ship was sinking. You were well aware of the calamity that was soon to follow. You happen to also be one of the people whom God has entrusted with the life-preservers, a bottomless cache of life-rings that will surely save every life on this boat if they would just accept them.
What's your plan hero?
You gonna keep them all to yourself, even though you already have your own?
You gonna just sit there quietly because "life-preservers are a personal matter"?
You gonna just leave them in the cache because God didn't specifically tell you that it was your calling to dispense the life-saving devices?
You gonna let someone else dispense the life-rings because you feel unequipped to toss them out to your dying shipmates?
Or, are you going to take this great commission we have literally and do something?
As John Piper so astutely put it in the video, our options are to go, send or disobey.
*10-40 Window Illustration courtesy of http://home.snu.edu/~HCULBERT/1040.htm
** All quoted Biblical text courtesy of http://www.esvonline.org and the ESV Study Bible