70,000. That is a huge number.
If that number were miles, that distance would stretch around the earth almost three times. If it were dollar income, that salary amount would put you around the 84th percentile in America. And if that were people, those bodies would fill up the Mercedes-Benz stadium in Atlanta to cheer on the Atlanta Falcons.
70,000 people. Think about that. That would be a giant workforce that could accomplish quite a bit. Imagine what 70,000 missionaries around the world could accomplish!
This number stood out to me because I recently learned that this is in fact a number of missionaries in the world. But it is the estimated number of Mormon missionaries around the world.
Let that sink in for a minute.
Now compare that to the number of missionaries that are a part of the Southern Baptist International Mission Board. 3,685.
Granted, there are many other solid, evangelical agencies that are also sending qualified Gospel-spreading missionaries into the world to spread the good news of Christ’s salvation. And local churches in different parts of the world are also obeying God’s command to make disciples. But I find the sheer volume of people from one group quite staggering. And it makes me wonder what are we doing with our time, our money, and our energy. What would it take for us, believers of the true gospel, to match that 70,000 number?
The Mormon church has mobilized in such a way that an entire small city is out spreading a message that ultimately has no power to save and no hope for eternity. They encourage young people to give up two years of their life as one of the means to accomplish this goal.
Meanwhile, we are happy to see other people go and do God’s work. We are content to watch others labor in our own community, in our own nation and around the world. And often we are very encouraging and supportive – and we should be. But so many times when rubber meets the road for our personal involvement, doubts from the enemy enter our mind. We conjure up a thousand excuses to not go, not to give, or not to serve in some capacity. I know, because I have to fight those doubts and excuses too.
But fortunately God is patient with us and begins to conform us to His image and give us His heart for the lost. As we walk closer and closer to Him, He reveals to us that He loves to save sinners! Sinners just need to know. The world needs to know. We need to tell that story. And we need to to do it with urgency.
The fact that a cult can outpace true, redeemed believers stirs up sadness and anger in me. This is not right! But it also motivates me to take up God’s call and be more diligent in making disciples and spreading the good news of Jesus.
Maybe learning this small fact today will motivate you. Our church has so many opportunities to serve the very community in which we live where many don’t know the Gospel. Seek those opportunities out starting with City Serve on April 27. Give up your time, your energy, your resources to share Christ and make an impact for God’s kingdom – to make Him known.
Our Life-Group has adopted a widow in our community. She is an unbeliever. But through consistently serving her, caring for her, investing in her, we have been able to share the good news of Jesus with her. And now, as we continue to serve her, we pray that the Gospel she has heard will begin to take root as we continue to sacrifice time and money to minister to her. Make it a priority to serve right here in Augusta.
So serve locally but don’t neglect the nations. Our church as many opportunities in which you can use your talents and skills to spread the Gospel in a short-term national and international context. We have partnered with incredible brothers and sisters in the States and around the world who also have a desire to reach the lost. Pray over joining one of these teams. Pray about giving money to one or many of these teams. We cannot do it alone because the cost is great. We need to be side by side for the advance of the Gospel.
John G. Paton was a pioneer missionary from Scotland in the mid to late 1800’s. He and his wife boldly left home to work among cannibals in the South Pacific islands of what is now known as Vanuatu. Let his words challenge you today to, what one of my colleagues used to say, “get up and do.”
“God gave His best, His Son, to me; and I give back my best, my all, to Him.” -John G. Paton
May it be so in our families, in our community, in our nation, and in our world.