Psalm 96:3, Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous works among all the peoples!
Throughout my entire Christian faith, I’ve heard comments that go like this: “Why do we spend so much money in foreign missions when there are people within our own country who need to hear the Gospel?” Yes, we need both foreign and domestic missions, but nobody is ignoring the needs of our own people when they go to other countries. While there are plenty of people within our own country who don’t know Jesus, I’ll be shocked if there’s someone who doesn’t at least know about Jesus. There are far more places outside our country who have never even heard the name of Jesus Christ, let alone know Him. The psalms exhort that we declare God’s glory throughout all the nations, and Jesus commanded that we go to the nations to baptise and teach people about Him in the Great Commission. Nobody is forgetting about the lost in our own country when they reach the lost in foreign countries.
I find it interesting that the same people who make comments like the above are usually the same people who don’t go on mission trips, whether foreign or domestic. There are plenty of missionaries who reach the lost in their own country. Sure, a lot of them go to foreign countries, but why do we leave the duty of witnessing the Gospel in our own country to just missionaries? Every Christian is a missionary. Every layman has the ability to reach the lost in their own community. If you’re truly concerned about reaching the lost in your own country, then go out and reach out to them. The duty of witnessing the Gospel to the lost is not restricted to missionaries alone. Not everyone is called or can afford to go overseas on mission trips, but you can still support our overseas missionaries through prayer and sacrificial gifts.
It is not wise to complain about missionaries who go overseas to preach the Gospel but don’t remain in their own country. They are just as needed over there as they are here. After all, Jesus will not come until all have had a chance to hear His name. Jesus said, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14). So if anything, it is more important that missionaries go overseas to countries where its people don’t have the resources to hear about the Gospel like our rich, western civilisation does. While they’re overseas, you can reach out to those in your community who don’t know Jesus. If you’re too afraid to do this, then pray that God changes your heart. Volunteer somewhere and offer your time in service to others as a witness of the Gospel. You don’t have to go out and preach; you can just live by example. For instance, I don’t go out and preach to the lost because I don’t have the skill set to do that. However, I do volunteer my time every Saturday evening at a church as part of their programme called Genesis Community that reaches out to recovering and/or struggling addicts, whether it’s drugs or pornography.
As a future pastor, it’s easy for me to offer my time. But most of you reading this are laymen, and it might not be as easy for you. I don’t think Jesus ever implied it would be easy. Just look at the rich young man who went away sad because he did not want to give away his things for the sake of the Gospel (Matthew 19:22). In the same way, we seldom want to give away our time in service to others for the sake of the Gospel. Let us not be so selfish. Let us pray that God reform our narcissism into selfless service. Time is valuable, sometimes a lot more valuable than money. So we are no better than the rich young man when we refuse to offer our time for service to people of our community. Take the time to research volunteer services in your area. Or if you feel inspired, start your own programme or charity drive.
We are so eager to point out the faults in others but fail to turn our pointing fingers around and look at ourselves. While you judge overseas missionaries for not staying here, what are you doing to reach others with the Gospel in your community, or elsewhere in your country? If you are volunteering, great! Keep doing that! What you’re doing is important. But let us remember that throughout all the Scriptures, God’s people are exhorted to reach the nations with the message of the Gospel. People in your state have heard about Jesus, but in that small, third world country where there are hundreds to thousands of people who’ve never even heard the name of Jesus in their entire lives, those are the people that need our time even more. We ought to be thankful for those who sacrifice their time and even their lives to go to these far-off countries for the sake of the Gospel. As they do so, let us support them with prayer and monetary support and thus faithfully respond by serving those in our own communities around us.