Summary: With so many people who don’t know Jesus in the world, what difference can my help make in such a big, big world?

Sermon: What Difference Can We make in this big world?

Place: Oakdale Wesleyan Church

Date: April 6, 2008

Subject: Missions


There was a man who everyday would get up early in the morning and take a morning walk along the seashore. As he walked every time he passed a star fish that had gotten stranded on the beach after the morning tide went out he would throw back into the sea and save the star fish from certain doom of the sun that would bake the star fish to death once the sun rose high the in the sky.

Another man moved on to the same stretch of beach and began a morning routine of taking an early morning jog along the beach before cleaning up and heading to work. This man began to notice the elderly gentleman every morning combing the beach for stranded star fish. Finally his curiosity got the best of him so he stopped one day to talk to the gentleman.

During the course of the conversation he eventually brought up his question. He asked the man why every morning he would comb the beach looking for stranded starfish, there are so many thousands of them and so many thousands that die everyday what difference will saving few starfish really make?

The elderly man bent down and picked up another star fish and as he threw it back into the waves of the sea he simply said: “Well, it made a difference to that one.”

Recent studies show that as of March 2008 the world’s population reached the 6.6 billion mark. As of 2005 China, India, and Asia held the world’s largest population bases with almost 50% of the worlds population being located in those 3 countries. In this time frame while China boasted of 1.3 billion people the United States only had about 300 million (less then ¼ of China’s population).

This month we are focusing on missions and a curious question that might be raised like the question of the man jogging on the beach to the elderly man is, “With so many people in the world, what difference are we really making?” So a handful of oriental folks hear the gospel message from Andria Swarthout, so a few folks in Bosnia get touched by the gospel from Josh Carter, so a number of Polish families are moved towards Christ by the Lair family, so a few Hispanic people are reached by the Hubbards, a few more Native American’s by LeRoy and Sandy Anderson…with so many people in the world, what difference is it really making?

To that question I suppose our missionaries might respond like the elderly gentleman on the beach, “Well, it made a difference in that person’s life!”

Today we are continuing our study of missions and continuing to ask the question, “Why should we be involved in missions.” With all that we are attempting to accomplish right here in Oakdale, why should we give so much time, energy, and money away to people we will never meet?

Today’s responses to the question are simple no non-sense answers that come from a variety of sources. Last week we zeroed in on Romans 10 and discovered that we are not alone:

1. God is now with us

2. We have been privileged to hear the good news

3. God loves everyone else as much as he loves us.

So today, let’s move from the theological and theoretical to the very practical to answer the question, “Why should we be involved in missions?”

Continue with Prayer

Today’s answers:

1. The poor and disenfranchised are always at the center of God’s heart

Last year when I was studying through the Sermon on the Mount and the first few days of Jesus ministry from Matthew 8-11 one of the comments that was made by D.A. Carson in his book, “Jesus’ Sermon on the mount” was that the poor and disenfranchised are always at the center of God’s heart. In Mary’s song recorded in Luke 1 the refrain written in verses 52&53 “He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.” A common understanding of God is that he cares for the lowly, the poor, the widows, the orphans, those less fortunate.

I think one of the greatest things that impacted me on my short journey to Pakistan was the level of poverty and state of powerlessness that so many people lived in. Just take a look at some of these pictures I captured while I was there.

There is a special place in God’s heart for the poor and disenfranchised people. People without power, people without hope, people without adequate resources. If you want to focus ministry in a venue that will always be in line with God’s heart, focus your ministry efforts on these type of people groups locally and around the world.

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