I meet Indians on a regular basis who want to move to America. They want out of South Asia. They want out of poverty. They want out of the dirt. They want out of their problems. But I think even more than wanting out of something, they want into something. They want into ease, rest, riches, security, and comfort. When I tell them that I did the reverse and moved from America to India with my wife and daughters, that we live here, and want to stay here, they turn their head in a confused manner, indicating that they can’t seem to wrap their minds around it. Why on earth would someone do that?
We know the answer, and we tell them the answer. But we need to keep telling ourselves the answer as well. We’re forgetful and we lose sight. “Why did we move here? Why did I bring my family? Why keep going? We’ve served almost six years, that’s a good stent, right? Why not move back now? The kids are growing up. My wife has real health problems. The terrible pollution is speeding up the dying process for all of us. I could go back and pastor a church. My wife could take the kids to the library regularly. We could have a backyard. We could breathe fresh air again. We could have ease… comfort… rest…” Left to ourselves, we’re really not very different than our unsaved Indian friends. But thank God we’re not left to ourselves! God does not leave us alone to coddle our western flesh. He persistently reminds us through his saints, his word, and his Spirit that in this life “we have no lasting city” and “we seek the city that is to come”.
Pray that we continue to see with spiritual eyes. Pray that we continue to walk in light of eternity. God is not worshipped greatly in India as he deserves. So many are going to eternal damnation. This should cause us to pause. This is a reality. Indians really are never-dying souls. Can we not spend a few short years, and sacrifice a few passing breaths for God’s glory and our neighbor’s eternal good?
Shame on us if we’re not willing to suffer a little for Christ’s church when Christ suffered so much for us. He came not from America but from Heaven and took upon himself the likeness of sinful flesh. He suffered outside the gate in order to save us through his own bloody death. We have done nothing. He has done everything. Let us follow him outside of the camp. Let us leave behind the love of this world and the desire for ease. Let us be increasingly willing to bear the reproach that he endured. O, may we know him, and the power of his resurrection, and share in his sufferings, and become like him in his death! Please pray for our hearts, that we press on to know Christ and become like him.
I don’t believe every Christian needs to move to India as a missionary (though we’re always looking for a few good men). And I think there are good and godly reasons for missionaries to leave the field. We may have to leave one day. Maybe because of failing health. Maybe we’ll be more useful somewhere else. I don’t think pastors in America with backyards are living lives of ease. I know the toil so many of you endure! But we know ourselves, we know where Christ has called us at this time, and he has not released us from our post. We need to keep marching. There are lost to share the gospel with, there are interns to train in theology and pastoral ministry, there’s our local church to strengthen. There are young men and women to open our home for discipleship. There are churches to be planted in this dark, dark land. At this time, with God’s help through your prayers, we press on.
I want you to press on too. If you are a pastor, teacher or missionary, if the church has affirmed your character and gift, I want to encourage you to stay at your post. Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ. For Christ’s glory and the eternal good of those under your care, march on.
If you’re a wife, husband, father, mother, or single saint, you too are called to engage in the war. Each of us may differ in weapon and post, but all of us should carry our arms and run to the battle. You may be able to open your Bible, open your mouth, open your home, open your schedule, open your life, open your wallet, or fall on your knees. But whatever you do, do in light of eternity for God’s glory and man’s eternal good. Don’t coast in this life. Press on, dear friend.