Summary: This is the first in a series we did leading up to our missions conference - Missions is the call to world evangelism. It is our chance to use our resources to build the kingdom of God.
Title: We’re Not Alone in the World
Place: Oakdale Wesleyan Church
Date: March 30, 2008
When I was pastoring in West Union Iowa a few years back I was one day over to visit old Ralph Moore at his home. Now you have to picture Ralph. He was an old cop back in the days when policing was more like the Andy Grifth show, so you have to get that picture in your head first. Secondly he knew everyone in the county and after retiring for being a cop he began collecting and selling stuff and ran the West Union auction house – now in rural Iowa auction houses were a huge deal down on the farm. The last image you need to have of Ralph is that he now weighed in at well over 500 pounds. He could barely walk, and if he was to be taken out of the house it would literally take at least five police officers or paramedics to lift him onto a gernee, out the door, and into the ambulance, and I know this from personal experience. At this point in Ralph’s weight he was no longer able to make it to church because he physically could not get around.
Needless to say, going over to old Ralph’s house was always interesting. He always had something to show me or give me and always had a hundred stories to tell. One time he showed me the RV he just bought and then customized by taking out the seat belts, and taking off the back of the driver’s seat so that he could drive it – literally it was like siting on a bar stole driving an RV. Not only did Ralph always have something interesting to show me or tell me but he also always had an opinion about everything and of course his opinion was always right – remember – he’s the cop.
Well on this particular day I wasn’t in much of a hurry because we had a guest missions speaker who was going to be speaking on Sunday morning which freed me from the work of preparing and writing a sermon so I had extra time to visit Ralph. The conversation was puttering along until I mentioned that we were hosting a missionary couple at church this weekend. As soon as the words left my mouth I knew I was in for a ride.
Ralph just started to go off and for the next ten minutes all I could do was sit, listen, and be edumucated. He told me why he felt supporting missions was a hoax and a waste of time. He thought it was the dumbest endeavor the church had ever gotten involved in, for cry-in out loud, we can’t even take care of the problems we have in our own backyard and we struggle to pay our own bills so we have no business throwing money away to missionaries we barely know who work with black people we will never see. (I might have also forgot to mention that Ralph was a little prejudice). After ten minutes or more of ranting and raving he finally came down to his conclusion, “Missions is a waste of our resources and waste of our time!” WOW, now if you were in my shoes what would you have done? May-be some of you are old enough you would have taken Ralph on but I was young and I could clearly see there was no changing his mind so I politely and as quickly as I could changed the subject and then looked for a way out of his house.
While the situation was rather uncomfortable at best Ralph did bring up a good point. Why should we be involved in missions? Is it really a waste of our time? Are we sacrificing what needs done locally in order to support what is being done globally? Why should I care about people I’ll never meet? As we gave $20,000 to Pakistan just a few weeks ago, it does beg the question, why are we doing this when we could certainly use the money right here in Oakdale?
I want to give you a crazy and simple answer to those questions, “Because we are not alone.” This answer is rather simplistic, but it is also rather profound if you really think about it. Why should we be involved in missions: Because we are not alone!
I want to have Pam come and read the scripture for us this morning but before she does I want to set the backdrop of what is going on so he have a little bit fuller a picture.
• Jesus Christ came to the Jews – didn’t exclude gentiles but primary focus – Jews
• Paul got called and while he had a passion for the Jews he saw that the gentiles needed to know of Christ’s love as he began to understand the universality of God’s love.