Acting Locally, Thinking Globally
World vision has always been at the heart of our work. In the 1970’s and early 1980’s, at the peak of the national collegiate ministry renewal (The Jesus Movement), we sent many staff around the world. Dana and I had the privilege of being one of those sent. But, with the decline of the collegiate work in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, our vision necessarily turned inward. We now had to focus on solidifying our sending base and regaining the needed momentum at home in order to be able to once again send to the world. Though never lost, world vision was not emphasized as we sought to rebuild at home.
When we regained momentum at home, we can once again move the topic of “world vision” to the “front page” nationally. God continues to bless us with many new staff and laborers. But this blessing is not an end in itself. We are blessed that we might be a blessing to others. That was the word the Lord gave to Abraham in Genesis 12:1-3 when He said, “I will bless you…and all the peoples of the earth will be blessed through you.”
God’s heart has been and always will be for the whole world. We see this theme throughout the Scriptures. Take a moment and reflect on the consistency of God’s heart for the world in the following passages: Gen. 12:1-3, Isa. 49:6, Mat. 28:18-20, Acts 1:8, and Rev. 7:9. “For God so loved the world that He sent His one and only Son…”
Isa. 49:6 reminds us that it is too small of a vision to focus only locally. God’s burden is for the entire world and we are to pursue that end also. As we begin to see God multiply our people, making them as numerous as sheep (see Ezekiel 36:37-38), we will want to see many of those He gives us sent to the nations.
One last thought on sending to the world. Let’s remember that there is no “higher good” in crossing an ocean to serve God. Geography does not determine value in God’s service. It is equally valuable in God’s economy to reach, disciple, and equip the ‘nations within’ the U.S. as well as some foreign country. Those that go are no more “committed” or “better” that those who stay.
We all make our strategic contribution for “making disciples in all the nations.” We just do it in different geographical locations around the globe. Some people God gifts and calls for serving cross-culturally. Others are better designed by God to serve within their home culture. All are valuable! All are strategic! All are important!
Beginning at our Jerusalem, may God bless us to reach our Judea’s and Samaria’s and the ends of the earth!