[forthright] GO!

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From: "Forthright Magazine" <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Sat, 08 Jul 2006 11:23:42 -0300
Forthright Magazine
http://www.forthright.net
Straight to the Cross


COLUMN: Field Notes

GO!
by Michael E. Brooks

"Go therefore and make disciples of all the
nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father
and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching
them to observe all things that I have commanded
you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end
of the age. Amen" (Matthew 28:19).

My latest travel arrangements to Nepal and
Bangladesh were the most efficient I have yet had.
I had only two stops between Nashville, Tennessee,
and Katmandu, Nepal, with a total elapsed time of
about 32 hours, 24 of which were actually in the
air. This compares very favorably with previous
itineraries which averaged 42 total hours and 28-
30 in flight.  Wear and tear from travel was
definitely lessened and the trip more enjoyable.

I am sometimes amused when people ask about the
length of the travel. Almost invariably they
comment on how long and tiring it is and how they
"don’t know if I could stand such a long trip." I
understand their concern, but it is amazing how
much we take our modern transportation for granted
and how quickly we forget what travel was like
just a short time back.

For instance a missionary going to Asia perhaps
two generations ago traveled by ship and required
perhaps two weeks for the journey. Several decades
prior to that, travel was by sailing vessel and
took months. These trips also entailed much more
danger, discomfort, and hardship. Often, of
course, one simply could not go to certain places
because of the cost, risk, or unavailability of
transportation.

It is those conditions which the apostles faced
when Jesus issued the great commission. Travel was
difficult and hazardous, yet they went. Paul's
list of hardships endured, recorded in 2
Corinthians 11:22-33, specifically mentions many
which were directly associated with his travels.
These included shipwrecks, journeys, perils of
waters, perils of robbers, perils in the city,
perils in the wilderness, and perils in the sea.
These experiences did not diminish his commitment
to his mission, nor did they prevent him from
planning even longer and more arduous campaigns
(see Romans 15:19-24).

The fact is that going to preach to the lost is
not conceived as easy, fun, or convenient. It is
understood in Scripture that fulfilling the great
commission will be hard and dangerous work. When
Jesus sent the twelve on the "limited commission"
he warned them:

"Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of
wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless
as doves. But beware of men, for they will deliver
you up to councils and scourge you in their
synagogues. You will be brought before governors
and kings for my sake, as a testimony to them and
to the Gentiles" (Matthew 10:16-18).

We are commanded to evangelize the world. This is
an unconditional command, not limited by danger,
cost, hardship, or inconvenience. But the
obligation incurred by direct command is only a
small part of our motivation. We go because of
love for the lost, because of gratitude for God's
love for us, and because we realize that we have
received salvation because someone came to preach
to us in the past. Next to the sacrifices made by
others, dating back to Jesus himself, a little
jetlag is no price to pay.

We are blessed with greater possibilities to reach
the lost in the most remote areas of the world
than there has ever been. We can go virtually
anywhere, and do it quickly, comfortably, and
conveniently, in most cases with only moderate
risk and at relatively low cost.

God has truly blessed us with opportunity. For
that we are grateful, and we will go!

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