This is said when someone talks but doesn’t walk. When they can say sentences but can’t pay the proper penances of hard work and dedication.
This saying originated with the Christian author John Bunyan. He coined it as, “I know words are cheap, but a dram of grace is worth all the world.” Though Bunyan may have coined these words, the truth that talk is cheap goes back to scripture. I hope that as we take a closer look at this passage, we may be challenged to walk the talk.
In all labour there is profit: But the talk of the lips tendeth only to penury. Proverbs 14:23
Work always brings profit. If you put in the work, you will gain an outcome. It may not always be what you were expecting it to be, but it will be profit nonetheless. Work is worth it. Our society promotes slothfulness, but our Lord promotes work. The worth of work is not the only thing emphasized in this verse. The second half of the verse mentions that talk will lead to poverty. As we see from scripture, talk is cheap and work is profitable.
Now that we have established this idea, I want to use the concept in World Evangelism. As I’ve made phone calls and gone on meetings during this season of deputation, the devil has made it his goal to discourage me. When that temptation comes, I always remind myself, ‘’Talk is cheap, work is worth it.’’
CHURCH, WHAT WORK ARE WE DOING TODAY TO GET THE GOSPEL TO THE WORLD?
Christian, what are you doing today to get the gospel to the world? Are you giving? Are you praying? Are you going? Are you winning souls and discipling them? Are you raising your kids to be the next generation of soldiers on the front lines of world evangelism?
Are you talking about how much you love Jesus? Are you talking about how much you love missions? Are you talking about how much you believe the Bible and the Great Commission?
The convicting truth is that most of the time we are not working toward world evangelism, we are only talking about world evangelism. Missions is an old dusty banner we hang up once or twice a year to emphasize giving. Missions is a quote that we say and parade around yet don’t act upon. But today, we must decide to stand up and do the work of reaching the nations.
I want to challenge you to decide that talk is cheap. World evangelism deserves work, the work of praying, the work of giving, the work of going, the work of raising the next generation. Realize that if you do the work, God will bless with results.
We can’t hide behind the talk anymore. ‘’They won’t get saved.’’ ‘’Our country just doesn’t want the gospel.’’ ‘’Their hearts are cold.’’ This is no excuse. When we obey and do the work, He works and we see a profit.
Recently I was reading Norman P. Grubb’s book With CT Studd In Congo Forest, which is the account of the ministry of the Heart Of Africa Mission. This mission agency was started by Studd for the evangelism of Africa. Held within this book was the account of the ministry of James Lowder. After some research, I realized that although Lowder had a phenomenal ministry, little had ever been written about him. He was a man who was consumed by a passion for souls. As we strive to reach the world with the gospel, I decided to write this article about Lowder to bring light to the many things that could be learned from his ministry.
HE TOOK THE HARD ROAD FOR SOULS
The story introduces Lowder as follows: ‘’A lean bearded man comes free wheeling down Nala’s palm avenue and swings off his cycle outside Bwana’s (boss in the native language, used endearingly for CT Studd) house. No porters, no baggage accompanies him. So fighting fit is he that even as many as four normal stages in one, bump, bump, bump over the yard wide native tracks, through forest and savannah, at a speed which would put most Europeans on their backs with fever. It was a matter of deliberate training with him.” Lowder was known to drink his tea without milk, to climb across the thickest bush, and to sleep on the ground with no mat or blanket.
It amazes me to think that Lowder would travel with no baggage, on foot, treading through the mud and water to reach the next village for Christ. When conditions were lighter, he moved quickly because time equaled souls! We may live in a time where modern missions do not demand such primate and harsh conditions, but this mindset of doing whatever is necessary for souls should still be at our core.
HE INSPIRED OTHERS TO LOVE SOULS
George Ambrose, one of his early coworkers, said, “My short stay with brother Lowder has been an inspiration, for the work here is the result of his passion for souls, and it has been used by God to kindle within my heart a zeal to win souls such as I have never before experienced.”
Every time Studd would send Lowder a worker, the man would return from Lowder with greater love and vigor for reaching souls. The truth is that soul winning is not taught but rather caught. Jesus told His disciples to follow Him and he would make them fishers of men. They learned to catch men for the Saviour by following Jesus. Are your disciples learning soul winning by following you? We need more men and women proclaiming the gospel. This won’t happen with a soul-winning initiative. This will happen with discipleship and a man training emphasis. Every Christian should have somebody that they are training to tell people about Jesus.
HE TRAINED A NATIONAL
One of Lowder’s greatest accomplishments was training a national evangelist by the name of Kavirondo. Kavirondo would go out to the forests to preach for 5-10 days at a time. When he returned, he was never alone. Not only would he tell the stories of converts, but he would have a group of new believers who had joined him in his ministry.
In missions today, we need to remember that the greatest work we do is that of training converts to lead churches and to reach the uttermost. Lowder was a champion in the field of training. He sent out men to reach the parts of Africa that he could not. We need to be adamant about training and discipling men who can keep the local church alive past our lifetime.
HE WAS TIRED FOR OTHER SOULS
It was said that when you received a letter from Lowder reporting the work that God was doing in the bush, the letter would begin like this: “I am too tired to write a proper letter.’’ This was because Lowder and his evangelist were known to preach twice a day and witness to people throughout their trek. If they weren’t preaching, they were trekking through the forest in efforts to find the next preaching grounds. The only rest he received was when they took short moments to lie on the ground.
Winning souls does not only take inspiration but also perspiration. Long hours and hard work are part of the cost. Whether it be hours laboring in a language, treks through villages, or the long process of starting a church, we must remember that labor will be required. The outcome, however, is the salvation of souls.
HE DIDN’T ALLOW CRITICISM TO STOP HIM
Lowder and his native evangelist saw thousands saved and baptized. Some weeks, over a thousand would make professions of faith. Because of these enormous numbers, he was doubted. Many thought that he was either lying or leaving behind many false converts. These accusations were proved to be false when churches were started by these new believers, and families began attending faithfully. Not only this but after being born again, many would burn all of their witchcraft belongings as evidence of new life. They brought forth fruits of repentance when they showed that they had turned from their old ways. Tithing was also something that the new churches of the Congo faithfully practiced.
But even with these signs of true salvation, many still believed that they were false converts. If you do something for God and see people saved, you will be criticized. The best thing you can do in those cases is to simply ignore the accusation, and continue serving the Lord. We have to remember that we are just a tool in the Master’s hand, therefore our success is only Christ’s success.
HE ALWAYS ASKED FOR MORE LABORERS
In his brief report letters, Lowder would never forget to mention the need for laborers. CT Studd sent most of his evangelists to help Lowder. When there was nobody left, he went himself.
This is my plea to you, friend! We need more laborers! For my field, Turkey, with 10 cities of over a million and 13,000 villages, we need more laborers. We need more laborers in Africa, a field ripe unto harvest. India, China, Pakistan: these highly populated nations need more laborers. Will you go? If you can’t go, what will you do to send a substitute? Who are you mobilizing for missions? You must go or you must recruit! DO YOU, LIKE LOWDER, HAVE A PASSION FOR SOULS?
Last night as I lay in my bed, I thought back to my office as a youth pastor. Like many youth pastors, my office was a shared space. My desk was an old door thrown over two cabinets which were used as the founding pastor’s desk. I’d like to take you on a walk down memory lane. I’ll show you what my desk and decorations looked like and what their purposes were.
Dew Of Thy Youth Poster – I loved Mt. Dew (what youth pastor from that era didn’t). My wife had made a huge Mt. Dew poster with Psalm 110:3 written on it. Our teens loved it! It was a wonderful icebreaker.
A World Map – God had just started giving me a vision for missions. So I decided to hang a map on the wall which held a tack on each location where one of our church’s missionaries was working. I’d often talk about the map with our teenagers, and even at times, we would pray for the missionaries represented. As a fruit of this map, our teens grew a heart for the nations.
Ordination Papers & Bible College Diploma – I know many youth pastors are lay youth pastors and don’t have these two things. With a love for the youth, Bible study, communication with your pastor and the parents, and a ton of creativity, you’ll make it. I don’t doubt that you’ll see teens grow and be used for Jesus.
Calendar – Calendar is key in youth work! So many times we prepare to fail because we fail to prepare. As a former bi-vocational youth pastor, I would spend the first Saturday of the month planning out everything for the next 5 weeks. I’d plan out what I was preaching, teaching in Sunday school, our youth activities, and youth rallies. This helped me tremendously to stay organized and have a plan.
Silly String – This was for the random moments of craziness! As a youth pastor, you and your wife need to learn the power of spontaneity. At times, it’s good to do something crazy with your teens. This will undoubtedly endear them to your family! The key to this is, as the fun reaches its peak, throw in some truth. Every time they look back at those moments, they will have nuggets of truth weaved into the memories.
Cleaning Products – Yep! Youth pastors usually end up wearing many hats! I unclogged toilets (often!), mopped the floors, and helped with projects around the church. If you want to be respected by the adults in your church, roll up your sleeves. I went as far as helping some of our elderly men in their home gardens. I did this because I wanted their respect as a man of God. The price for that respect was work and time. Although I earned their respect, I also gained something even more valuable, wisdom from these seasoned men!
A Bible – Teens need truth not cute! Quit trying to make your messages cute and start packing them with truths. One time I preached on Romans 1 verse by verse for over a year. We hit some deep stuff. At times illustrations were needed to drive it home, but the messages were full of applicable truths.
Mementos From Camps, Conferences, and Youth Rallies – Every year after camp, my wife would print out photos and we would have all of our teens sign their names. The ceiling above my desk was surrounded by these memories. When we hosted evangelistic youth rallies, my wife would transform our fellowship into whatever the theme called for. After each rally, I’d find the coolest decoration and I’d add it to the collection in my office. These decorations would remind me to pray for the teens who had attended the event.
This is a short list, but be sure your desk has the tools needed for you to be the best youth pastor you can be. Remember, many youth pastors have changed the life of the world’s next servant for Christ.
Bulgaria is often an unassuming country. With a population of only seven million, many times it can become lost in the shuffle of the outreaches of Europe. Connected to Turkey at its border, the nation rests in Europe and neighbors Asia.
Bulgaria has a rich Balkan history, but sadly it is poor by way of the gospel! The majority of the nation follows the Eastern Orthodox religion. Sadly, they believe that religion and works will lead their path to Heaven.
As a missionary to Turkey, I find this nation interesting because the Turkish nomads fill the fields of Bulgaria. They need the gospel! A young and surrendered man could easily be trained, raise his support, and be on his way to reach this people group. Bulgaria needs a willing missionary!
Please pray that the Lord would send someone to this needy field. Maybe that someone is you. Who will make a difference in the lives of the seven million in Bulgaria?
Recently I was reading a quote from secular author James Clear which said, “Some of the major drivers of human behavior…
Safety: Does it provide peace of mind or reduce risk?
Sex: Does it help them find love or make love?
Convenience: Does it save time or energy?
Social norms: Does it help them get along with others?
Status: Does it improve their standing or help them gain approval?
…which all fit into the larger category of self-interest: How does it serve the person?”
That quote got me to thinking that this perfectly illustrates why people don’t understand why us “crazy missionaries” would want to go to the mission field. It flies in the face of self-interest; therefore, it flies in the face of human behavior, and it’s drivers. I want to accomplish and spell out three things in this writing:
1.) Why these drivers won’t work for missions
2.) Why we as Christians are against self-interest
3.) What is the driver of world evangelism in the heart of a Christian
1. WHY THE MAJOR DRIVERS OF HUMAN BEHAVIOR WON’T WORK FOR MISSIONS
Missions isn’t a safe business! Especially as we as posh American millennial and Gen Zer’s see it, we’ve been condition to experience life from iPhones and Macs as opposed to outside in the wild so much of missions just sounds downright dangerous. People we don’t know may hurt our feelings. Learning a language may make us look stupid. New sickness and disease may hospitalize us, or even worse, bring us to mortality. And who knows, terrorists and criminals may even martyr us. I mean, it really could happen!
The problem is that safety as it is related to “feeling safe” is perceptive and based upon feeling that the people and environment around us won’t hurt us. The reality is that most mission fields are completely safe. Moving to another country in today’s society is no more dangerous than moving to another state. But once again, “feeling safe” is all in our head. And in our fear-laden society, safety has become a God. Let’s see how God views safety!
“He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap. As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all. In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand: for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good.” Ecclesiastes 11:4–6
If we sit around waiting for the sky to be perfect, we will never reap. If we wait around to see how safe other countries are, filled with lost souls barrelling into a godless eternity in a literal Hell, never giving glory to our Lord Jesus Christ, we will NEVER SEE THE WORLD EVANGELIZED!!!
Look at the words in Mark 8:34-35
“And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.”
Jesus commanded us to deny ourselves. This means to deny our safety, refuse to live in fear, and do what God has commanded us to do! We will not save our lives through safety. We will save our lives by losing it for Christ’s sake!
Safety cannot be a motivator for world evangelism, and it must not be a deterrent either. As believers, we must decide not to sit in safety but to run to the nations for Christ, no matter the danger, real or perceived.
Missions isn’t sexy! That’s a real tweetable quote right there, isn’t it? In his description of sex as a motivator, Clear describes it as, “Does it help you find love or make love?” I want to address both as not being a motivator for missions.
First, let’s look at finding love. The reality is being a missionary might cost an unmarried young person their girlfriend or boyfriend because going to the nations isn’t appealing to some. And by some, I mean all that are not sold out to Christ. Missions isn’t sexy! No girl panders to her friend over how attractive the young, single missionary student is who wants to travel the world for the cause of Christ! And no young man panders to his friends about the girl who is sold out to Jesus and wants to raise a family on the mission field UNLESS that young man or young woman is dedicated to Christ and His commission. Young missionary men find their wives in the churches with girls who are wholly dedicated to the Lord Jesus Christ and his cause. Though missions may make your prospects for marriage limited, it may just limit you to God’s will for your life. Let’s look at what the Bible says on if world evangelism limits your dating pool:
“But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment. For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that. I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I. But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.” 1 Corinthians 7:6–9
The Apostle Paul is saying here that his preference would be for the unmarried to stay unmarried. His purpose for this is given in 1 Corinthians 7:32,
“But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord:”
Therefore, Paul would be fine with unmarried young men who could serve Jesus with all their vigor, saying they could remain unmarried and pure (which Paul gave as one of the primary reasons for marriage; to keep you for fornication and sin). Paul’s thinking on this shows that the Bible isn’t that concerned with the dating pool. Now, this isn’t to say that the Bible is anti-marriage or for singleness. A young person shouldn’t be obsessed with finding a mate but rather obsessed with following Christ. When they follow Christ wholeheartedly, they will find the mate of God’s choosing! Looking for love cannot be a motivator for missions and should not deter a young person from going to the nations for Christ.
Now let us look at “making love” as a motivator for going to the mission field. This one should be an easy one because it appeals to God’s view of marriage and sexuality for all believers, not just Christians.
“Drink waters out of thine own cistern, And running waters out of thine own well. Let thy fountains be dispersed abroad, And rivers of waters in the streets. Let them be only thine own, And not strangers’ with thee. Let thy fountain be blessed: And rejoice with the wife of thy youth. Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; Let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; And be thou ravished always with her love. And why wilt thou, my son, be ravished with a strange woman, And embrace the bosom of a stranger? For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, And he pondereth all his goings.” Proverbs 5:15–21
God simply puts it that a man is to only enjoy making love with one woman, that one woman being his wife. Men are to run from sexual immorality, which includes any sexual act outsides of the bonds of this relationship. A man doesn’t go to the mission field looking to make love or find a lover. He goes to show the love of Christ to lost sinners! Making love cannot be a motivator for missions, nor should it be a deterrent. Some would say, “I’d serve Jesus, but I’d have to live a Holy and separated lifestyle, giving up sexual sins like sleeping around and pornography.” Oh, but Christ is worthy of us being Holy as He is Holy and living our lives away from sin and unto Him!
Missions isn’t easy; therefore, it is not convenient! Going to the mission field is not an exercise in the easiest way of life but rather an exercise in obedience to Christ! We will not retread covered ground in an attempt to brief on these subjects, but we cannot use convenience as a motivator for the same reason we cannot use safety. We are not to look for safe or easy but rather for obedience to Christ. Missions isn’t easy; it doesn’t save time or energy. As a matter of fact, it exerts much time and energy, but it is still worthy of doing. Though convenience isn’t a motivator for missions, it should not deter us either.
Missions is normal! Sadly enough, it should be at least amongst the church, but it’s not. Think about it like this. The world population is thought to be 7.8 billion people currently. Amongst that number, think about how few are truly born again believers. Past that, think of how few born again believers are sold out and willing to be in ministry period. Zero that down to how few in ministry are going to the foreign mission field. You will see that missionaries aren’t considered socially normal by any group of people, including the church. Missionaries are honestly thought to be weird people! People don’t get it! But this is what the Bible says about fitting in:
“If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” John 15:19
As Christians, we aren’t made to fit in, so when our life choice to go to the mission field isn’t normal, we should have learned to be okay with that by now. We must understand that social norm is not a motivator for missions, and it also can’t be a deterrent.
Missions won’t make you a big shot! Most missionaries are not known – most are not touted. Just like with social norms, missionaries don’t fit in enough to raise to status. For the reason that we have already tread this ground, we will not restate this point. We will just say that status is not a motivator for missions but should not be a deterrent for it either.
2. WHY WE AS CHRISTIANS ARE AGAINST SELF-INTEREST!
We as Christians can’t use this world’s motivators for missions because the heart of all these motivators is self-interest. So often, we try to pick what we do because of what is best for us, and that is not the Christian way. The Bible says for us to deny ourselves and to be willing to give our life for Christ. This call of denying ourselves is our call to kill self-interest in our hearts.
We need to quit pandering to our own wants and whims because we are believers! Our call is obedience and Christ. We cannot wait for the interest of self-motivators of self-interest to rib us into Christian service but look into the scripture and the heart of God and hear the call to follow Christ and obey Him to reach the lost masses.
3. WHAT IS THE DRIVER OF CHRISTIANS FOR WORLD EVANGELISM?
Here I don’t plan to give a great explanation but rather a list and the scriptures to prove it. I pray that the Holy Spirit will use these thoughts and text to motivate you to give your life for World Evangelism!
The reality of God and the desire for the world to know He is real. (“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” Genesis 1:1)
The glory of God and recruiting others to bring Him glory. (1 Corinthians 10:31, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”)
The reality of Hell and love for sinners headed there. (Revelation 21:8, “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”)
The command of Christ (Mark 16:15, “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”)
The desire to hear Christ named in all nations. (Revelation 7:9, “After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;”)
I hope that here at the end, you realize that the world’s motivators won’t motivate you to the mission field, so quit looking at them. Understand that self-denial as Christ commands pushes us away from self-interest and that the motivators for us are found in Scriptures and not in our self or society. I hope you look at those five verses and let the Holy Spirit answer this question, “SHOULD I GO?”