“‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!'”
Missionary and founder of the China Inland Mission (now OMF International), Hudson Taylor, was speaking to a large gathering of Christians in his native England, and told the story of a man to whom he had been witnessing who fell out of a boat and into the China Sea while on their way to Sungkiang. Nearby was a fishing boat with large nets that could be used to save the man who could not swim. Here is the conversation between Taylor and the fishermen:
“Veh bin,” was the amazing reply: “It is not convenient.”
“Don’t talk of convenience! Quickly come, or it will be too late.”
“We are busy fishing.”
“Never mind your fishing! Come – only come at once! I will pay you well.”
“How much will you give us?”
“Five dollars! Only don’t stand talking. Save life without delay!”
“Too little!” they shouted across the water. “We will not come for less than thirty dollars.”
“But I have not so much with me. I will give you all I’ve got.”
“And how much may that be?”
“Oh, I don’t know. About fourteen dollars.”
Upon this they came, and the first time they passed the net through the water, they brought up the missing man.
The man was dead. The crowd of Christians in England was outraged at the behavior of the fisherman. They did not, however, expect Taylor’s next words:
“Is the body, then, of so much more value than the soul? We condemn those heathen fishermen. We say they were guilty of the man’s death because they could easily have saved him, and did not do it. But what of the millions whom we leave to perish, and that eternally? What of the plain command, ‘Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature?”
We can ask ourselves the same thing that Hudson Taylor asked his audience, “What of the millions we leave to perish, and that eternally?” Right now, where you are, ask God to raise up laborers for the unreached and unengaged and ask the Lord for a renewed passion to share Christ. This is not to denigrate other kinds of ministry, but to draw attention to something dear to the heart of God. Have we been like those fishermen…too inconvenienced to save another person or to serve as Christ’s hands in seeking and saving the lost?
Finally, after taking time to pray and seek the Lord, would you go to the Operation World website, and sign-up to pray daily for the nations? They have wonderful resources to help as you, “Join people from every nation, praying for people in every nation”.
This blog is a part of the Lausanne Global Prayer Focus. We invite you to journey with The Lausanne Movement in prayer throughout the month of May. This journey will be a personal one, and a collective one. It will be focused on the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, his good news for all people.
In week 3, we are focusing on A World Apart from the Gospel. Download a prayer guide for the week, or visit www.lausanne.org/pray to access the new content daily. You may also enter your email on this page to be sent a weekly email reminder with the new prayer content each week of May. Be sure to select “Prayer” as a Topic Interest.