Life on Purpose
Worthy, Willing, and Ready to Work
by Mark McPeak
“We’ve never taken a big offering for missions. But, this year we are excited and we’re going to go all-out!”
The excitement in her voice was evident. I got off the phone and said a prayer of thanks for yet another church fully on board with the World Missions Offering. They set a goal of $2,000, a significant amount for their small church. Their total topped $5,000!
Only one of nearly 700 churches that participated in the 2013 effort, First FWB Church’s passion is a small picture of what happens every April. Thousands of people, most of whom will never know each other, come together to accomplish something extraordinary in a simple way.
Worthy—A Cause Worth Supporting
Jesus told a series of three stories in Luke 15, beginning with these words, “What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?” (Luke 15:4).
In these stories about a lost sheep, coin, and son, He reveals the heart of God for finding and saving the lost. He gives us a glimpse into Heaven and the passion of God when He says, “Joy shall be in Heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance” (Luke 15:7).
Jesus’ teaching comes full-circle in John’s stunning vision on the Isle of Patmos. John sees a Lamb, slaughtered as a sacrifice, in the throne room of God. The Lamb is receiving worship by those redeemed “out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation” (Revelation 5:9).
His Sacrifice was to redeem people from everywhere on the earth. Yet so many have still not heard. An article by Natalie Crowson (“Perfect Strangers: Christians Living Among Buddhists, Hindus, and Muslims,” Lausanne World Pulse, November 2007) cites startling statistics that prove the need for more cross-cultural missionaries. The majority of unreached people are concentrated in areas where they will never know a Christian personally.
Only 10.4% of Muslims in Asia personally know a Christian, while 67.8% of Muslims in North America know a Christian.
Only 13.3% of all Muslims worldwide personally know a Christian.
Among Hindus and Buddhists worldwide, only 14.1% know a Christian.
Asia is the most isolated continent with only 13.3% of the more than 3.6 billion people claiming to know a Christian.
86% of all Hindus, Muslims, and Buddhists do not know a Christian.
In Romans 10, Paul cited with clarity the dilemma of these least-reached ones, “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent?” Who will tell the least reached if no Christians live around them and among them?
The WMO supports the work of Free Will Baptist missionaries around the world. Some specifically target these groups—the most unreached. Some work in places where the Church is maturing to the point they also want to reach out to the nations. Visit fwbgo.com to read their stories!
Send Hope to the Hopeless—the theme of the 2014 WMO—is about uniting our hearts and our efforts with the Father, who rejoices greatly when even one is reached with the message of the gospel.
Willing—Hearts Committed to Obedience
Repeatedly, we hear stories of great sacrifice related to the World Missions Offering. God’s people make their hearts available, and He leads them to give generously. This principle is beautifully taught in the Exodus. When the Israelites were miraculously delivered from bondage in Egypt, God made provision for them through their captors: “the Egyptians…lent unto them such things as they required. And they spoiled the Egyptians.”
As the Israelites followed the Lord through the wilderness, they depended on Him for every need. He instructed them to build a place for Him to dwell with them. It is amazing to see how the Lord “asks” for His people’s participation. Rather than demand that they give (what He has already provided), He appeals to their hearts: “Take ye from among you an offering unto the Lord: whosoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it, an offering of the Lord; gold, and silver, and brass…” (Exodus 35:5). The people responded in obedience, with enough to build the Tabernacle and much more!
God’s work always moves ahead through the willing obedience of His people. Funding His Great Commission, like building the tabernacle, is a highly important project. More than $800,000 was given to the WMO in 2013. We made no crisis appeal. With no coercion, God’s people simply considered the worthiness of the cause and gave generously from willing hearts.
In 2012, during the worst of the impact of the global financial crisis, the Mission leadership was driven to their knees. Through prayer and fasting, the Lord made it clear that funding the Mission would be about His people responding to Him in obedience. He has provided, and He will continue to move on the hearts of His people to support what is important to Him. The only question, the same one answered in the desert so many years ago: will God’s people have willing hearts?
Work—People Eager to Work
First Free Will Baptist Church took on their WMO goal with all their might. Though uncertain how they would reach their goal, they determined to get their hands dirty. They planned a yard sale, sponsored a spaghetti dinner, and gave out Change the World coin banks to everyone. Their tireless efforts paid off. It was as though they lived Paul’s encouragement to the Corinthians, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58).
We celebrate all the individuals and churches like First Free Will Baptist that will never have their stories told. Their story is simple, with no miracles and no awards. They have a cause they value, willing hearts, and hands ready to work.
This is how God is providing for His work of global evangelism. This is how God is funding the World Missions Offering. This, in reality, is how it has always been. In the end, He deserves the glory in this simple story. It is all about Him.
About the Writer: Mark McPeak is director of advancement for Free Will Baptist International Missions. Learn more about the 2014 WMO: www.fwbgo.com.