The Missionary Problem
Eutychus was a young believer who fell asleep in the window loft while Paul preached passed midnight in Troas toward the end of his third missionary journey. His stupor caused him to fall three stories to his apparent death. As Paul took him up, he revived him in what would seem to be a miraculous resurrection, or “awakening” to which the crowd responded with great comfort! The Physician, Luke, announced “Do not be alarmed, for his life is in him” (Luke 20:10)
It takes a variation of routines to arouse slumbering people from their sleep. From a gradual increase of light streaming into the room to a violent shaking while screaming “Wake up!” I’ve been on the receiving end of both at different stages of my life. The first in my old age; the second in my younger years. One is subtle; the other is shocking. On a more alarming level, I have met and spoken with those whose hearts had stopped for several minutes before being resuscitated as well as those who had been in a coma and later revived. These situation are intensely more urgent and need a much greater degree of intervention than those who are merely in a slumber. Whether in a light slumber, a heavy stupor, or an urgent intervention, churches are in an eleventh hour need for a “Great Awakening” in their spiritual deadness toward biblical missions!
Andrew Murray was the son of missionary parents to South Africa in the early 1800’s. He himself ministered in South Africa for 60 years. In his book titled: The Key to the Missionary Problem, he wrote about two foundational truths which ought to serve as “awakenings” to us if we are to arouse either through a subtle means or a shocking one. The first truth with which Murray shakes us is that: “the missionary problem is a personal one.” He seems to shout through the pages that if we personally take on the task “to seek the deepening of the spiritual life, missionary consecration will follow.”
The second truth meant to arouse and revive our local churches is that the missionary problem is a preaching one. He said: “The chief end of preaching ought to be to train every individual believer and every individual congregation to take its part in helping the church to fulfill her destiny.” He goes on to explain that “missions are the chief end of the church.” Her ever-awakened duty!
To what degree of urgency do we need awakened toward an awareness to solve the missionary problem? Is there cause for alarm or is our missionary life within us?
Praying & Pleading!
GFF General Director