While it is true that Jesus Christ expects the Body of Christ to collectively take the Gospel to every person on planet earth in our generation, it is not true that He expects that of any one local church or individual. Not only would such a demand be patently impossible, it is demonstrably not Scriptural. One example is found in Acts 16:7, where Paul’s team was forbidden by the Holy Spirit to take the Gospel to Bithynia. Rather, God had a specific geographical will for their missionary labor. The challenge then is to be led of God into the “harvest field” of His choosing and for all believers to serve the Lord wherever they are.
While it may seem on the surface that the truth that we are not individually responsible for the whole world diminishes our responsibility, the opposite is actually true. This truth implies that there are people whom only I can reach. It implies that there is a corner of God’s harvest field that suffers neglect by my disobedience to the missionary mandate. It implies that when I say “no” there may not be someone else to say “yes.” It implies that my decision to pray, give and go affects souls who are hanging in the balance.
Consider this testimony from the Biblical Illustrator:
“Miss Havergal tells of her experience in the girls’ school at Dusseldorf. She went there soon after she had become a Christian and had confessed Christ. Her heart was very warm with love for her Savior, and she was eager to speak for Him. To her amazement, however, she soon learned that among the hundred girls in the school she was the only Christian. Her first thought was one of dismay—she could not confess Christ in that great company of worldly, unchristian companions. Her gentle, sensitive heart shrank from a duty so hard. Her second thought, however, was that she could not refrain from confessing Christ. She was the only one Christ had there, and she must be faithful. “This was very bracing,” she writes. “I felt I must try to walk worthy of my calling for Christ’s sake. It brought a new and strong desire to bear witness for my Master. It made me more watchful and earnest than ever before, for I knew that any slip in word or deed would bring discredit on my Master.” She realized that she had a mission in that school, that she was Christ’s witness there, His only witness, and that she dare not fail.”
“If you are the only Christian in the shop, the store, or the office where you work, a peculiar responsibility rests upon you, a responsibility which no other one shares with you. You are Christ’s only witness in your place. If you do not testify there for Him, there is no other one who will do it.” – (J. R. Miller, D. D.)
Written by Dr. Kevin Brosnan, Field Administrator with Baptist World Mission