Friday, November 5, 2010
We all remember how the the 33 miners in Chile were entombed over 2,000 feet in the "bowels" of the earth for 69 days—17 of which were in total darkness—millions worldwide anxiously waited to see if they would be rescued. Can you imagine the terror that these men (and their loved ones) must have experienced—not knowing if they would live or die ... and how they all felt after they were rescued? Prayers around the world were offered on their behalf.
When the miners finally were in contact with the surface, Luis Urzúa, the miner who helped hold the miners together, said to the Chilean president: "Mr. President, we need you to be strong and to rescue us as soon as possible. Don't abandon us."
President Piñera said "the whole world can learn from the rescue operation. The Chilean government was committed to finding the men alive and rescuing them 'from the very first day.' He thanked the US government, the Canadian government, the Australian government, and many other governments around the world [for their help]."
"The rescue cost between $10m and $20m," Piñera said. Obviously, no cost was spared in this rescue operation!
What an exciting outpouring of love, concern, and commitment by thousands of people worldwide praying, giving, and so many working tirelessly around the clock until every miner was brought to safety and his life saved.
Thank God that they were not abandoned!
I couldn't help but compare the total commitment to the saving of these 33 miners to the lack of commitment by so many churches and Christians about the millions of people who are trapped in a far deeper canyon of sin—and doomed to a lost eternity in Hell without any hope of rescue unless there is a much greater outpouring of loving commitment, sacrifice and tireless work by churches and Christians who care enough to bring them to Jesus—their only hope of being rescued and saved—for all eternity!
Tragically, not all by any means, but so many of our churches spend $-millions on building fancy buildings that are used only for a few hours a week—a practice that no secular business could justify—and spend most of their income on programs that minister to themselves while, in comparison, such a small percentage is spent on home and overseas missions, and even less on local evangelism.
In one church where I used to be a member, our annual budget was just under a million dollars while our budget for evangelism was a paltry $1800. In another church where I was teaching on outreach, I was told that they didn't even have a budget for evangelism. In the past nine years, in my own church, I can't remember when I saw the last adult being baptized as a result of his/her coming to Christ.
In my early days of ministry I was the pastor of a small church in Michigan and had a conviction that it was part of our calling to share the gospel with every family in our area of responsibility. Come winter, summer, spring, fall, rain, snow, or freezing cold we never missed one weekly outreach visitation night. I believe the same principle applies to every local evangelical church today. With modern means of communication this task has never been simpler. If we, the Church, don't reach our communities for Christ, who will?
Will we leave it to the Muslims?