White Unto Harvest
(And July Report)
"This is not a good time for my family." "I'm not sure how my kids will handle it if I'm away from home for several weeks." "My wife doesn't like for me to be gone -- she's real uncomfortable with the whole idea."
These quotes represent the actual words and thoughts of many of us who have traveled overseas. Some have decided that they can't participate in foreign evangelism at all because of such considerations. Others have cancelled or postponed trips. Many have proceeded with their travel plans despite a nagging feeling that they were doing something that might permanently harm their families.
Let it be plainly stated that it is entirely right and proper for a man to engage in a careful evaluation of these matters. One who doesn't consider the well-being of his family is "worse than an infidel" (1 Timothy 5:8). But, let's be sure that we don't just dwell on the negative aspects. There are some positive things to consider. These include:
Such trips constitute a real opportunity to sacrifice for the Lord. If we only do the things that come easily, we haven't made the real sacrifices that He calls on us to make (Matthew 5:46-48). Certainly the man who decides to make such a "missionary journey" is sacrificing as he leaves behind the comforts and security of home. But, his family is also making a huge sacrifice. They need to be encouraged and commended concerning this. If this concept of "sacrifice" is stressed to the wife and children, perhaps they will to appreciate their opportunity to serve the Lord in this way (Romans 12:1,2).
It might make it easier to "swallow" the inconveniences that these evangelistic trips place on our families if we stopped to consider that many others are gone from home -- and for longer periods of time -- for far less important reasons. Salesmen and business executives often travel extensively. Military personnel are sometimes called upon to take "tours of duty" which have them away from their families for months at a time. If such worldly purposes can be used to justify family separations, surely we can see that the work of God's kingdom would deserve the same.
Make a specific application of Jesus' words to these situations: "Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God's sake, who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting" (Luke 18:29,30).
Yes, it is difficult to be gone from wives and children, and distanced from all that is "home." But the Lord calls us to such work (Mark 16:15). With the enthusiastic support of our families, we can do it! firstname.lastname@example.org (from Russian Update)
Editor's note: Having over and over heard such words as brother Gwin quotes, as well as others which anchor capable men in the U.S., I am happy to print his article on this subject. Some churches who are loath to let their preacher preach overseas would also profit from what he has written above. My wonderful wife cries every time I leave her to go to Eastern Europe and it takes me a few days to get over the sad feeling of parting.
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For comments to the author, or to contribute news, reports, and information regarding preaching efforts in foreign lands, please contact Steve at email@example.com
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