If you’re into missions, there’s a good chance it’s because you care about people. But sometimes as we face a large, hurting world, it’s challenging to know where to begin. Some turn to politicians, trying to implement a large-scale change from the leadership. Others work socially, trying to change the mindset of their friends and peers. And some simply give up before they even get started. The problems are so overwhelming, the question becomes “Why bother?” or “What can I do?”
I think it’s interesting that the world is becoming increasingly activist. There is more media emphasis on the environment (e.g. An Inconvenient Truth), on social justice issues (e.g. The Constant Gardner and Blood Diamond), war in the Middle East, and a host of other causes. This is both good and bad for the church. Good, because people are getting used to being involved in some way. Bad, because it’s easy to treat being a Christian like just one more agenda. And that’s not the way it’s supposed to be.
I like this quote taken from the 1999 MSF Nobel Prize acceptance speech: “Humanitarianism is not a tool to end war or to create peace. It is a citizens’ response to political failure.” What does this imply for Christians? As Christians, we are compelled to act out the love we claim. And there are innumerable failures to be addressed with it. Sometimes action needs to be impulsive. Even dangerous.
Missions involves risk. We all recognise and honour the risk. But we each need to adopt some of it. It’s God’s greater vision. And He promises that, one way or another, the payoff is worth the price!