I was there for two weeks on a mission trip. Our goal was to dedicate a well, conduct a medical outreach, hold nightly services for the gospel to be preached, and ultimately plant a church.
Many people seem to ask about what it is like in places like Nigeria. I usually tell them its a lot like here. Although our country enjoys many luxuries that the rest of the world can only hope for, I still see more similarity than difference. The human condition appears to be the same all around the world. We are a broken and messy humanity. Africa, Asia, and America…we are not too different.
We all are just struggling to get by, struggling to numb the pain of a fallen world, struggling to pretend that we are ok, or strong, or proud, or special, or unique. When there is scarcity of resources, even the best of us will happily overlook the so-called integrity we say we believe in. I have learned that even my best deeds are often tainted with selfish ambition.
In some places in the world they fight starvation, we fight obesity. Some fight for survival, we fight rising suicide rates. Some fight for freedom, we fight the deadly disease of apathy. Everywhere you go people have their own set of struggles and problems. For many this leads to a loss of hope…
Whats strange is, I often find this loss of hope to be found in Christians. I hear them say things like, “this world is just getting worse and worse and we just have to wait for Jesus to come back.” I hear things like, “I can’t believe how bad this world is, Jesus just needs to come judge all these sinners.”
At the heart of the Christian faith there is this idea that God Himself came to Earth to visit humanity. What he saw 2,000 years ago probably was not much different than today. There’s still oppression, violence, poverty, corruption, etc. The God that is found in the Gospels however, takes a different approach to losing heart. He does not just call followers to believe in Him and wait for Him to come back one day.
He sends them on a mission. A mission to fix this broken, messy, ugly place we call home. God says he loves the world so much, that despite the obvious problems he wants to save it… rather than destroy it.
In the Christian world many of us have bought into the lie that says God wants to save us FROM the world. However, the gospels tell us that the saving purpose of God did not happen to save us FROM the word, but in order that God’s Kingdom might come to Earth as it is in HEAVEN. What we call the “Lord’s Prayer” is the prayer of God himself trying to bring Heaven’s way to Earth.
God is on a mission to save the world. When you say you are a Christian, you become apart of the greatest movement in human history, a movement to save the world. And although many bad and terrible things have been done in the name of Jesus, all across the world there are more hospitals, orphanages, houses of compassion, and good deeds being done in his name that any other figure in History. The Christian prayer is not that God would saves us from the world, but that he would bring His Kingdom to the world we call home. So we are meant to live, and breath, and sacrifice, and suffer, and give in a way that shows this world there is something worth hoping for; something worth believing in. We give this broken world a foreshadow of what God’s Kingdom will look like when he is finally done sorting out this mess that we have created.
All of this to say, the world is one messed up place. But God is not content to leave it that way, he is on a mission to fix it. If you are a Christian, by definition you are on a mission to join him in this process. Whether that be on the other side of the world in Africa, or across the street where you know the loving message of Jesus is needed. Our faith is not one that just goes to Church on Sunday so we can learn to be nice people and wait for Jesus to come back, our faith is a faith in a God who does not give up. Our faith is in a God who is reconciling all things unto him. Our God has NOT given up on the world, and nor should we.
Wow, this is way longer that I first imagined. If you got through it…congrats. May His Kingdom and His Will come, on Earth as it is in Heaven.
Pastor Isaac Serrano