The Rich Fool

25 04 2012

As Mission Pastor at my church, one of my biggest and never-ending jobs is to recruit people to go on mission trips. Some of our trips are full before we even put out the sign-up sheet, but others, especially the new partnerships, are difficult to fill. Therefore I start emailing people, taking guys to lunch, talking to everyone I pass in the halls on Sunday mornings, etc. The recruiting job never seems to end. I am not complaining, though, because at this point in my life, I feel that God is wanting me to be a mobilizer for missions. I believe that some people just need to be personally asked rather than signing up in the lobby for a trip.

Since I am constantly talking to people about going, I am constantly turned down. Consistently I hear one of two excuses probably 90% of the time: 1. not enough money & 2. not enough time or not the right time. This always reminds me of the parable that Jesus told in Luke 12:13-21 where a man has more crops than he can store, so he decides to build bigger barns and rest and be happy for the rest of his life. Jesus goes on to say that this man did not know it, but his very life would be required of him that night. In many Bibles this parable is entitled The Parable of the Rich Fool. He is a fool because he put his hope in his own time and money instead of the eternal blessings of God.

In our minds there is never enough money or time, yet it always amazes me that the same people who use these excuses seem to have plenty for their own vacations and pleasures. God forgive us for putting missions last! When we say that we don’t have enough money, we are saying that we have no faith that God will provide. This does not mean that we sign up for a mission trip, sit down, do nothing, and expect the money to magically appear in our bank account. God gave us a brain. God gave us hands. Yes, sometimes, money supernaturally appears. I have seen it happen. But most times it is simply faithful people signing up for a trip in faith and being a good steward of their own finances.

There will never be a good time for a mission trip. When the kids are little, it’s hard to get away. Then the kids grow up and there’s baseball and piano recitals. I promise, there will never be a good time to go, and the reason is that Satan does not want you to go. So he gives you an excuse for every season of your life, and you take the bait. I don’t think that many believers really think that they will stand before Jesus and give an account one day. Will you have any fruit to show for your life? Have you been apart of God’s plan to redeem a lost world, or have you been puttering around with your own agenda? The Bible calls it foolishness.

Maybe it’s time to put your own plans and finances on hold for a while and go on a short-term mission trip. I promise, it will not hurt as bad as you think, and you will never be the same again. God will do remarkable things with your faithfulness.



3 responses

25 04 2012
Dave T.

This reflection on participation in mission seems very judgmental to me. It probably is meant to be “convicting” but I would label it otherwise. People DO have lives that they are living in obedience to God’s call on their hearts and using the guidance of many counselors and the Bible. The early (and later!) church history is appropriately full of “goers” AND “senders.” Guilt is a legitimate emotion and motivator when a person IS guilty; this posting seems to make all people feel guilty if they don’t respond to this church’s specific invitation to participate as a “goer.” Ease up on the pressure to be part of a particular trip. Ease up on recruiting people; those who decline may have others calls on their time that having nothing to do with foolish pursuits.

26 04 2012
Scott Ward

Dave T., I appreciate the comment and I understand what you are saying, but I believe that you are incorrect in your assessment of our guiltiness. I believe we are guilty in light of the incredible lostness of our world, and from believer to believer we have the right to be judgmental. In light of the fact that there are still people who have never heard the gospel, we must call our church out of their sin. You mentioned that there are ‘”goers” AND “senders”‘ as if we are doing any better at sending. I would make the case that we are more guilty in that area than in going. I am not trying to guilt people to go on any particular trip – I am trying to make people aware of the Great Commission and what it means for them personally. What other calling is there? Paul, in scripture, said many times that anything other than preaching Christ is foolishness. The justification you are using for not calling sin what it is and not making people aware of their guiltiness and suggesting there are other callings is what will continue to keep the Western church impotent.

30 04 2012
Andrew Perkins

Well said Scott. I was reading something by Louis Palau this morning. He said, ‘Could it be that some of the hardest hearts are not in the wicked, but the devout? The greatest threat to the church today is from those who profess Christianity but are not truly cut to the heart. Even the devout need preaching which requires a response to forsake everything and follow Jesus.’

We seem to expect to grow a crop without breaking up fallow ground. I love contemporary, pop cool hip church but I grow weary of soft preaching, intended to make people feel good, but little else. Still I am thankful and praise the Lord that even under such weak kneed preaching, seed thrown wildly, even among the thorns, will bear some fruit. But I ache to see more!

We in the church need to abandon no-till farming techniques, and break up the soil and realize…. WE ARE CALLED TO BEAR MUCH FRUIT and we should be very unhappy with so little…

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