“If love for the lost is the primary motivation driving you into mission, a lack of love will quickly drive you home. Go for the glory of God.”
Every once in a while, we see someone leave mother and motherland to selflessly serve a people very different than their own. We saw this in the life of Mother Teresa, and more recently in the life of Kayla Mueller, the young American who smuggled her way into Syria to serve those caught between the barrels of ISIS and Assad. It is an admittedly rare and beautiful portrait of the God-Man who left the adoration of Heaven to be greeted and treated with the scorn and contempt of the earth He created and sustains.
While it is tragic and true that tens of thousands of men, women and children die daily without ever being given an opportunity to hear the Gospel—as many of them are in fact prohibited from ever hearing the Gospel—compassion for these scores will not sustain a Gospel worker on the frontier. I dare say it was not compassion that kept Jesus as He walked among us for decades—I suspect it was secondary to the glory and renown of His Father’s Name.
For those of us bought with the holy blood shed by broken skin hanging on rusty nails and splintered wood, we are under the sanctifying hand of the same Father who gave such a trembling cup to His sinless Son who nevertheless “learned obedience by the things He suffered.” We will “be holy as [He is] holy.” It is an “irrevocable” promise we may take much strength in—we will be free from sin. It is also a sobering reflection of His commitment to conform us into the image of Him who bore our sins.
That may sometimes look like bleeding out between criminals.
If we relied upon the likes of Mother Teresa and Kayla Mueller, this broken and bloody world would live on for millennia without ever nearing the redemptive Day of the LORD. What a pity that would be—and an indictment against those who have and are white-knuckling the Gospel because we, quite frankly, don’t want to go to lands ruled by Sharia law. We know someone should, but we can’t quite see the value in doing it ourselves.
With men like Franklin Graham calling for a ban on Muslims in America and men like Marco Rubio calling for mosques to be shut down (noticing a color pattern here?), we have to look beyond the borders of the American Constitution to know what faithful discipleship should look like.
The stories of those interviewed in Sheep Among Wolves are unnerving, disturbing, and uncomfortable. They won’t make us want to fly to the Muslim world to preach the Gospel. They shouldn’t. They should make us uncomfortable. Yet it would be cheap to leave godless and bloodthirsty people groups to their own delusions when they’ve never been given opportunity to repent. We “all have sinned,” we “all fall short,” and were all “children of wrath” and “enemies of God.”
He came to us anyway.
For the disciples living under brutal regimes among jihad and genocide, it is not ours to give them an evacuation route—though our own disposition to self-preservation would incline us to do so. If they left their hostile environments and violent communities, they would take the witness with them. If they stay, the Gospel spreads under the black hand of persecution just like it always has. It is thus ours to remember our family in chains “as though we were chained with them.” It is a small and holy privilege.
When a young woman gave of her life in response to the glory of God, it made the apostles terribly uncomfortable. It made the founding leaders of the apostolic missions and church-planting movement uncomfortable. It is a display that still makes us all uncomfortable. Yet when that young girl in Bethany broke her savings account and spent it on Jesus, He looked at those twelve boys shifting their feet and averting eye contact to tell them one very specific command: “Mention this when you mention Me.” Meaning this: when we open our mouths to tell someone new about Him, when we move our families to “fulfill the ‘Great Commission,’” we’re meant to mention what biblical discipleship looks like—and it looks like that lady in Bethany. It looks like a life poured out, like His life was poured out. It looks like feet that walk the roads of our enemies. It looks like veins emptied out willingly—literally and figuratively—if that is the cost of letting a traitor know the King is willing to pardon him.
 Sitton, D. 10 August 2015. Twitter. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/davidsitton/status/630525309390090240
 Ellis, R. 2015. “American held by ISIS moved by suffering of the Syrian people.” CNN. Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/2015/02/06/middleeast/isis-hostage-kayla-mueller/index.html
 See John 17:1-5
 Hebrews 5:8
 Matthew 5:48; See I Peter 1:16
 Romans 11:28
 See Romans 8:29
 See Matthew 24:14
 Sharia law is the legal system designed and derived by the life and teachings of Muhammed, as recorded in the Qur’an and Hadiths. It was the governing rule in the Islamic Caliphate, and is now used to govern many Islamic nations in the Arab world, and is the constitution of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/ISIS).
 Blake, A. 2015. “Franklin Graham: ‘We should stop all immigration of Muslims to the U.S..’” The Washington Times. Retrieved from http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/jul/20/franklin-graham-we-should-stop-all-immigration-mus/
Steiger, K. 2015. “Rubio trumps Trump: Shut down any place Muslims gather to be ‘inspired’—not just mosques.” Retrieved from http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2015/11/20/3724509/rubio-trump-shut-down-mosques/
 Hebrews 13:3
 See Matthew 26:6-13; John 12:1-11