Recently I was reminded of a powerful story. Larry Stockstill, formerly a mega church pastor from Baton Rouge, was praying about God’s harvest of souls around the world. For many years Dr. Stockstill had been mission-minded. In fact, he and his wife, Melanie, had started their married life on the mission field of Africa. Evangelism had been a passion for him since he was young.
This day was different. His prayers reached deeply into the heart of God, and he found himself crying out in desperation for the lost people of the world. He saw faces of all colors and all descriptions going about their lives oblivious to the Savior God had provided.
And then he saw people standing in a line. They were standing in a line waiting for their day to depart the earth and move into eternity. The line started at his desk in Baton Rouge, went east until it met the Atlantic Ocean and crossed the ocean. Then it continued across Europe, Asia, the Pacific Ocean and the western part of America until it came back to Louisiana…But it didn’t stop there. It wrapped the earth again. And again. And again. Until the line had gone around the earth 37 times. A line 37 times around the earth of people who were living and would someday die.
But this was a special line. It was a line of people who didn’t know God – and whose lives after death were doomed. These were people who had never received Jesus, even though His blood had been shed for them. Some of them had heard about Him and didn’t want Him. Others had never heard the Gospel.
This picture really impacted me when I heard it.
I couldn’t help but think about Jesus and His final charge to us. Just before He left the earth, He said, “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to all creation.” (Mark 16:15) Or, as Matthew puts it, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…” (Matthew 28:19)
He didn’t say, “Go have a great life.” (Though He wants us to). He didn’t say, “Go and be successful.” (Though He wants us to be a success). His charge was for us to take the Gospel into all the world and make disciples.
This mandate can be taken so lightly. There are sometimes overwhelming issues which take up our time and our energy. We have families, jobs or careers, our own desires, our own ambitions.
He does want us to have a good, happy life. That’s for sure. However, most people are the happiest when they are employing the gifts God gave them. Most are the happiest when they forget themselves and extend their hands and their faith in order to help others. Most are the happiest when they see others being won to Jesus and walking in the newfound grace God has for them.
So what does it take?
This happy, purpose-filled life is not one that is idle or self-centered. This happy, purpose-filled life seeks God and discovers His plans. For some, the “Go” is literal. These people feel a call to take the gospel personally into the world. They pray for provision to follow their leading, and they board planes or trains or cars in order to take the Gospel themselves.
For others, the “Go” really means “Send.” They pray for provision to send to the work, and they have giving hearts to see the mission accomplished. The “Senders” are a part of the plan just as the “Go-ers” are.
Everybody has a part to play. There are no exceptions.
Just think about it. Imagine the day coming when we have finished our lives on earth and we are standing in Heaven with Jesus. Imagine people running up to us and thanking us for what we did for them.
Where are they from? Are they African? Russian? Chinese? Lithuanian?
When we heed the call of Jesus to go into all the world and preach the gospel, whether we are goers or senders, we will reap the rewards. It’s exciting to think about. Think about the joy we’ll have in knowing we have contributed to someone being saved for eternity.
There could be no greater joy.
Let’s do this!
P.S. You may read more about Larry Stockstill and his mission by going to http://surgeproject.com.
P.P.S. You may find out more about my latest missions projects here https://glrobalreachproject.com/blog