The following is an excerpt from a book I am reading entitled Loving God by Charles Colson. I read this and thought, "Do our independent Baptist churches in America think this way?"
"During 1975, the church (Eastminster Presbyterian Church of Wichita, Kansas), then 850 members, had raised $500,000 for an addition to its always-crowded sanctuary. The architect's drawings were nearly completed and the members were excited about the imminent construction.
"Then a missions conference was held at the church, and a missionary from Guatemala showed slides of the terrible devastation from the massive earthquake which had hit that country two weeks earlier. Villages were totally wiped out; everything was in rubble, including what had once been small but growing mission churches.
"When the slide presentation was over, there was a long, uncomfortable silence, as if each member had been seized with the same thought. One man spoke for everyone: 'All of this has gone on and here we are planning to spend half a million dollars on a new building.'
"Another added in hushed tones, 'How can we build a Cadillac when out brothers and sisters in Guatemala haven't even got a Volkswagen?'
"Eastminster Presbyterian scrapped its plans and drawings, scaled down its expansion to $100,000 for a multi-purpose fellowship hall, and voted that the remaining $400,000 be sent to Guatemala along with a credit line for $500,000. Pastor Kik and two elders traveled to Guatemala to oversee the building of twenty-six village churches and twenty-eight parsonages."
My purpose for posting this is not to discourage churches from building new buildings. What struck me about this account was the attitude of the members of Eastminster Presbyterian Church towards the Christians in Guatemala. Notice what they called them: "How can we build a Cadillac when our brothers and sisters in Guatemala haven't even got a Volkswagen?" Do our independent Baptist churches in America have this mindset concerning their brothers and sisters in Christ scattered all over the world? I think there are many that do. And yet, I think there are some who couldn't care less.
Below are a couple of suggestions to help us develop a genuine concern for our brothers and sisters in Christ who are so often out of sight, but must not be out of mind.
First, pray. Here is a link to Operation World, the greatest resource that I know of to help us pray for our world in its entirety: http://www.operationworld.org/today1 I must confess that I have failed miserably in my life up to this point to really pray for the world as I should. But I don't want to fail miserably any more, and I don't have to. We can start praying that God would open doors and convict hearts and strengthen believers. We can do that.
Second, go. Take a missions trip. Come visit us in Cambodia. Better yet, take several missions trips. Instead of taking your family to Disney World this year, change it up and take them to visit a missionary that your home church supports. Go and see that the people that live outside the boundaries of the United States are real people with real needs. Allow your eye to affect your heart.
Third, pay attention. When a missionary comes to your church, don't have that awful attitude that I have seen in some church members that says, "Ugh, another missionary. If I had known he was going to be here, I would have stayed home tonight." Sometimes the attitude is not that pronounced. Sometimes it is more subtle. I don't care how many slide presentations you have seen; don't allow your heart to become calloused to the needs of this world.