Standing room only farming

So I’ve given my practical advice in my last blog, and I feel the need to get back on my soapbox. It’s only 13 days until my next trip to South Sudan.

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A villager surveys his crop in South Sudan.

Imagine a farm, if you will. This farm has been harvested to the point that the only thing left is stubble and a few heads of wheat. Criss crossing the farm are hundreds of farmers looking for the last kernels of wheat. They are on top of each other, getting in each other’s way. Once they realize that there is no more grain, they begin stealing from each other’s bins from what has already been harvested. This causes anger and fights among the farmers, and pretty soon there is grain spilled all over the ground.

Just over the fence is a farm with a full ripe field of grain, but in this field there is not a single farmer. The field is ready for harvest, but because there is no one there to harvest it, the grain falls to the ground and rots.

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By now, you’ve probably figured out that I’m not talking about agriculture. I’m talking about the state of missions and the state of the church. Now I don’t mean to sound hard on the church, especially one’s that take the time and the human and financial resources to send out missionaries. This is an incredibly noble thing. The problem is that the resources are being funneled over and over again to the same places. Churches send missionaries to the same saturated areas while leaving other parts of the globe almost completely untouched.  Large parts of the world, mostly in the Arab World, parts of Asia, and parts of Africa, are almost completely neglected.

Jesus final words to his disciples were this; “All authority in heaven on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you, even to the end of the age.”  So if we are called to go to the end of the earth, why do we keep ignoring such huge parts of it?  And if Jesus says he will be with us, then why are we afraid to go to the hard places?

When we go to places that are already saturated with the gospel, we lose the ability to bring the good news. If people have already heard it over and over again, what message do we bring?  Do we bring a message of how we’re different from that other group of Christians over there?  There is only one foundation, and that is Christ. If the foundation is already there, then why do we keep changing around the furniture in the building?  It’s time to get back to the basics. As the book of James puts it, “True religion is this. To look after widows and orphans in their distress, and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”  Let’s show the neglected parts of the world the Spirit that drives us, and share the gift that we’ve been given.

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Farming the traditional way in South Sudan, with a stick to turn up the earth.
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