Sons and Daughters


BY JORDAN SCOTT


In the first section of Better Friends than Mountains, we are shown intense footage of the radical Islamic group known as ISIS. Exposure to the savage reality of terrorism is hard to forget and can be very scary for many people. In light of this sobering reality, how do we continue to prioritize missions among potentially hostile people who have no access to the gospel?

Currently there are a total of 13,315 missionaries working among people who have no access to the gospel, according to statistics gathered by The Traveling Team.[1] Last year alone, ISIS recruited over 20,000 people to join their terrorist campaign.[2] How is it that a group so inconceivably wicked was able to recruit in one year, more terrorists than the entire global church could produce missionaries in that region? Because it’s dangerous. Family and friends do not like hearing that their loved ones want to go to dangerous places to share the gospel with people who are hostile towards Christians. But how much has our unwillingness to release family members into the mission field contributed to the lack of laborers in the harvest?

Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.” - Mark 10:29-30

There are great rewards for obeying Jesus even when it is costly. When we see Jesus face to face, not one Christian will ever regret anything they had to leave for His sake, no matter the cost. The eternal cost of neglecting our duty to Christ is far more costly than what we lose in this life. 

Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person's enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” - Matthew 10:34-39

When people follow Jesus it can be divisive, even to their own family members. It costs a lot to truly follow Christ, at times requiring that we leave houses, family, lands, etc. for the sake of Jesus. Persecution is even promised. Of course every mother and father wants to protect their children from harm, but if we seek the preservation of our family’s lives more than the advancement of the gospel, we will have a serious reckoning with God. If love for our family prevents the advance of the gospel by refusing to release them to the mission field, that may result in being found unworthy of Christ. This is very hard to acknowledge, and impossible to accept without the Holy Spirit comforting and assuring us of the worth of Christ and the rightness of leading our families to the mission field. For unbelieving family members, it will make no sense why their loved one would desire to embrace danger in order to advance the gospel, but we must go whether people understand and approve or not. Jesus deserves the praise that is going to false gods and false religion. What are we going to do about it? 

 

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[1] Atlas of Global Christianity. 2009. Retrieved from http://www.thetravelingteam.org/stats.
[2] ICSI. Peter R. Neumann. Foreign fighter total in Syria/Iraq now exceeds 20,000; surpasses Afghanistan conflict in the 1980s. Retrieved from http://icsr.info/2015/01/foreign-fighter-total-syriairaq-now-exceeds-20000-surpasses-afghanistan-conflict-1980s/