He called… (Matthew 10:1)
Principle: Those who are sent out must first be called.
Too often we look for a neon sign to pull us out of our comfort zone. There is a sense in which we’ve already been called by Jesus in scripture and just need to respond. I received an email about a woman named Linda that illustrates this. Linda had been given a remarkable dream.
In this dream, there was a river that went a number of directions. Linda and her family were in a wide part of the river.
They were just about the only ones there. The fish in that part of the river were huge. Wherever they reached their arms into the water, they would catch fish.
They spread their arms wide to catch as many as possible. The river was thick with all these fish, so Linda couldn’t understand why there was hardly anybody else trying to catch them.
Then she looked over at another part of the river. There were swarms of fishermen there; so many that there was no space between them, and it was dark. Not only that, but they kept getting their lines all tangled up with one another when they went to cast. As Linda looked at this situation, it became even more outrageous when one of the fishermen in the dark part of the river yelled out to her, “Come over here, we need more fishermen to help.” Linda knew that this was of course not the case, but the one calling out was darkened to the situation.
What does this dream mean? It’s pointing out the disparity between the resources and time the global church spends on itself. When I read about this dream, I wondered, “OK, I know that there are a lot more Christian workers focused on areas which have already been fished out so to speak, but I wonder what the actual statistics are?”
So I did some research. I wanted to find out how we’re doing. The Global Evangelization Movement provided me with some of the answers I was looking for. I discovered that 5% of the world’s pastors work among 73% of the population. Even worse was the number of missionaries being sent out to the more than 4 billion people in those parts of the world with few pastors. There are only 392,000 of them. That’s just 2 hundredths of one percent of the laity available.
So, my question is, “Are we fishing in the right part of the river?”
Linda’s dream of the fish describes a terrible reality. The world needs Christians who have been commissioned, Christians who are committed to share the gospel with those who have never heard.
Continued in: Foundations of missions: Our Calling (part 2)