Thanksgiving has passed for us in the states, and I trust all here had a blessed time to reflect on all the blessings God so incessantly showers down upon us (many of which are so habitually present that we barely recognize them as things for which we need to offer thanks).
This weeks "thought" fits into the theme of Advent. It is by Dr. James S. Stewart, former professor of New Testament at the University of Edinburgh, and former chaplain to the Queen in Scotland. It is found in his now (unfortunately) out of print book, "Thine is the Kingdom" (his lectures on missions which I believe were presented at Oxford).
I enjoy reading him whenever I need a good shot in the arm, or something solid and challenging. (His book "Heralds of God," should be required reading for every preacher!) Enjoy.
"If anyone today should ask, 'What is the best argument for missions?' - the answer, quite briefly, is - 'There is no argument for missions.' The total action of God in history, the whole revelation of God in Christ - this is the argument. In the last resort, the one reason for missions is Christ. He alone is the motive, God's presence in Him the one sufficient cause. The fact is, belief in missions and belief in Christ stand or fall together.
To say, 'I believe that God so loved the world that in Christ He gave everything He had, gave His very self' - to use such words, not lightly or conventionally, but in spirit and in truth, means that the one who uses them binds himself irrevocably to make self-giving the controlling principle of life - and this is the very essence of mission.
To put it otherwise, the concern for world evangelization is not something tacked on to a man's personal Christianity, which he may take or leave as he chooses: It is rooted indefeasibly in the character of the God who has come to us in Jesus. Thus it can never be the province of a few enthusiasts, a sideline or specialty of those who happen to have a bent that way. It is the distinctive mark of being a Christian. To accept Christ is to enlist under a missionary banner. It is quite impossible to be (in the Pauline phrase) 'in Christ' and not participate in Christ's mission in the world. In fact, here is the surest test whether we have truly grasped what Christ was doing by His life and death and resurrection, or whether we have failed to even begin to understand the Gospel He brought.
James Denny once heard a distinguished missionary say - 'Some people do not believe in missions. They have no right to believe in missions; they do not believe in Christ.' That stringent comment is a salutary reminder that a missionary outlook is a direct inevitable deduction from a saving knowledge of Jesus. The sole ground of missionary endeavor is Christ."
In the Bonds of Christ Charity, Pastor Jeff
Dr. Jeffrey F. Evans