I recently came across a quote from a man named J.L. Ewen. I poked around online to try to find out who this man is/was and didn’t find any information that was readily available. Of course, if you can help to shed some light on him I would be grateful to receive your help. But even without knowing anything about Mr. Ewen, his words have stirred a great deal of thinking, and reflection, not to mention emotion for me. And, judging by the response of a few friends, his words provoke the same thing in them as well.
Here’s what Ewen said,
As long as there are millions destitute of the Word of God and knowledge of Jesus Christ, it will be impossible for me to devote my time and energy to those who have both.
There are few words that drip with as much passion for the lost as these words. And quite honestly when I read them I was struck with a sense of my own lackadaisical attitude toward those who are still unreached; be they my neighbors or those who are living somewhere in Pakistan under the crushing grip of godless religions. Here we are in our mostly nice buildings, with fairly comfortable seats, singing well written music, engaging in the sometimes-more-than-occasional squabbles among “church people”, when there are millions unreached around the world. That hardly seems right.
But this issue here is not a matter of neglecting the local church per se. What other organism has God ordained to be taking the gospel to the world in this age other than the local church? It’s not a matter of forgetting the local church in favor of world missions, it’s a matter of maturing as part of the local church for the sake of world missions. In other words, as I understand the Scriptures, the more time that we devote to the building up of the Body of Christ (i.e. the local church) the more time we are devoting to the cause of growing the kingdom of God in the world.
So, there ARE millions without the Word of God or knowledge of Jesus Christ (and you can’t have one without the other!). Therefore, dedicate yourself more fully to the local church. Worship, mature in Christ, fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ, and serve in the local church. And when that happens, you will find that God will move in your life and in the lives of others to send you and others to the ends of the earth for the sake of His glory among those who’ve never heard!