Say you worked for “Feed the Children,” and you were given a donation of $1 million. What would people think of you if you decided to stash that money away for a while? My guess is you probably wouldn’t have your job for very long.
We all know that’s not your money, and you owe it to others to share it. It’s the very reason it was given to you.
That’s what God tells us with the gospel message. We were no more worthy of this message than anyone around the world—but God blessed us with it, and with the privilege of hearing the gospel comes the responsibility of spreading the gospel. To not be obedient to that command is stealing.
Believing the gospel comes with an obligation to the gospel.
In light of that truth, here are four practical steps every Christ-follower can take to be obedient to God’s call to carry the gospel to the ends of the earth.
1. Pray that members of the church would say “yes” to God.
Start with prayer. Pray for God to raise up people from our midst for this great task. Jesus commands us, “’The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest’” (Matthew 9:37–38 ESV).
These messengers will come in three varieties:
- Those who leverage their careers in cities all across the world so that people will come to Jesus,
- Those who leave their careers to focus entirely on disciple-making, and …
- Those seminary students and church leaders who will go to help pastor and mentor churches in strategic places.
2. Lead churches to take sending seriously.
John Piper says that in light of the gospel, we have three options: Go, send, or disobey.
God hasn’t called every member of the church to leave the United States. But he has called all of us to be a part of the sending process. It’s interesting that in Romans 10 Paul doesn’t just say, “How can they hear unless we go?” He says, “How are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent?” (vv. 14–15, emphasis mine) He recognizes that the whole church is involved in the process.
That means that every church should strive to give radically, send their best long-term to the ends of the earth to share the gospel, and encourage every member to get the vision and feel the burden of global lostness—for instance, by going on strategic short-term trips.
Those who help send should be every bit as committed to the work as those who go.
3. Be “sent” to the people in your life.
You may not yet know where God may send you in the future, but you can be sure where he has sent you right now—to the people in your life. That’s why God put you where you did.
Every once in a while I hear from a guy named George that lived across the hall from me briefly in college. He was only on my hall for about two weeks because he had gotten kicked out of his apartment and needed a place to stay.
We had several long talks about the gospel, and he woke me late one night and said, “I was walking around downtown tonight thinking about everything we talked about. I threw my hands up in the air and said, ‘God what do you want from me?’ Then I noticed a sign in a building that said, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved.’ I think God was trying to speak to me!”
It’s hardly ever this straightforward. But in that moment, I knew what to say: “I think so, too, man!” George became a believer and is now a Christian counselor.
George didn’t know his two weeks on my hall would be significant. I didn’t, either. But God did.
There are no accidents in the kingdom of God. And if you don’t share with the people in your life, who will?
4. Consider crossing a boundary.
The gospel didn’t start in the United States. The only reason we are where we are today is because past generations of Christians faithfully crossed boundaries, usually at the cost of their lives, for us.
If this work is going to get done, many of us are going to have to intentionally cross geographic and cultural boundaries.
It is well and good to share with your roommate or your co-worker or the people on your sports team (just look at George!). But we have to be willing to go to people unlike us, too. To other neighborhoods, to parts of the city we usually avoid, even to those who do not even speak our language one thousand miles away.
Believing the gospel comes with an obligation to the gospel. Put your “yes” on the table, and let God put it on the map.