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A Rescue Mission

by Skip Heitzig |
A cyclone hit the country of Myanmar (Burma) early this month, and only within the last week has its government allowed in aid from other countries. But with 2.4 million people affected by the storm--and at least 78,000 dead and 56,000 more missing--the country is greatly in need of outside help.

Christian organizations throughout the world have gathered money and material goods to help the victims, and this is part of our purpose as believers in Jesus Christ. But we have an even bigger job to do. You see, God has sent us on an eternal rescue mission. We are in the world to rescue His enemies--those who are at enmity with God because of their sin.

As He prayed for His followers in John 17, Jesus said, "I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one... As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world" (v. 15, 18). William Temple, the Archbishop of Canterbury during World War II, put it this way: "The Church is the only society on earth that exists for the benefit of non-members." Believers are here to benefit non-believers, by drawing them toward Jesus Christ.

Jesus taught His twelve disciples to focus on others. He said, "Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!" (John 4:35). In other words, the people in the world are ready to be "harvested." They're waiting to be rescued. I sometimes think about that verse when I'm in a mall or when I drive on the freeway and I see the hundreds or thousands of people. They all need to be rescued. The harvest is ready.

But, so often churches turn inward rather than outward. We become concerned about ourselves and our comfort rather than the needy world. Some of Jesus' last words before He ascended to heaven were, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15). Jesus said, "Go," but we have changed that mandate into "Come." We say, "Come find us and we'll tell you the truth," rather than going out to them.

Donating goods or money to help victims of natural disasters is commendable, and I want to encourage that. But remember we are here to rescue people from an even greater calamity--being eternally separated from God. Our rescue mission is "to seek and to save," perhaps on a foreign mission field, or perhaps in our own communities. Let's be about the Kingdom business.

In His strong love,

Skip Heitzig

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