Of course, one of the most important objectives of any annual Missions Emphasis is to help Christians here in America to understand the need for reaching the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
For this reason, I wanted to share a story today that helps to underscore that very need. It was first published in a 1993 edition of Christianity Today magazine.
Alila stood on the beach holding her tiny infant son close to her heart. Tears welled in her eyes as she began slowly walking toward the river's edge. She stepped into the water, silently making her way out until she was waist deep, the water gently lapping at the sleeping baby's feet. She stood there for a long time holding the child tightly as she stared out across the river. Then all of a sudden in one quick movement she threw the six month old baby to his watery death.
Native missionary M.V. Varghese often witnesses among the crowds who gather at the Ganges. It was he who came upon Alila that day kneeling in the sand crying uncontrollably and beating her breast. With compassion he knelt down next to her and asked her what was wrong. Through he sobs she told him, "The problems in my home are too many and my sins are heavy on my heart, so I offered the best I have to the goddess Ganges, my first born son."
Brother Varghese's heart ached for the desperate woman. As she wept he gently began to tell her about the love of Jesus and that through Him her sins could be forgiven. She looked at him strangely. "I have never heard that before," she replied through her tears. "Why couldn't you have come thirty minutes earlier? If you did, my child would not have had to die."
Each year millions of people come to the holy Indian city of Hardwar to bathe in the River Ganges. These multitudes come believing this Hindu ritual will wash their sins away. For many people like Alila, missionaries are arriving too late, simply because there aren't enough of these faithful brothers and sisters on the mission field.
The indigenous missionary referred to here, M. Varghese, is a good friend of mine. I have been to this very spot in India with him. I have seen firsthand his work among these very people. And I am utterly convicted by his passion over reaching his fellow Indians for Jesus Christ.
I came away from all of this more determined than ever to help this man in his missionary endeavors. And I hope others will do much the same. While most of us cannot pull up stakes and go to the far reaches of the planet to become full time missionaries, we can certainly take steps to become more informed, and then find ways to support those who have heard and heeded the call to missionary service.
I leave you with two passages of scripture.
The first admonition is from Jesus Himself in the 9th chapter of Matthew’s New Testament Gospel, verses 36-38:
36When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
The second comes from the Apostle Paul in the 10th chapter of his New Testament letter to the Romans, verses 13-15:
13 …for “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 14How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
STORY SOURCE: This true story first appeared in Christianity Today magazine back in 1993. It has since been widely disseminated across the internet. See, for example: https://bible.org/series/24-ways-improve..?page=1573.
SCRIPTURE SOURCE: http://biblehub.com.