In light of my most recent post on serving where we are– I would like to offer up some reasons that keep us from doing “over seas work” right next door. Here we go-
Many people, when considering adopting, look for children (usually girls) from other countries. The reasons are varied, and God knows the heart, but I would challenge people on this. Why do you go for needy children in other countries when the newspaper lists children in your own town who need homes? This is not to say that there are never any reasons for adopting from foreign countries. As mentioned, I know plenty of people who have adopted from foreign lands and all parties included have been very blessed by it. I would never tell some one that it was a bad idea or condemn them for not searching locally. But I want us to realize that we are to be serving in our nation as well as (not or) the rest of the world. If you are unwilling to adopt locally, check your reasons for going international.
The poor, oppressed, and pretty much down and out
The above argument could go for this next area of society, and I’ll actually expand on the adoption bit here. What is it about foreign trips that make people pour hundreds and thousands of dollars into the mission? Why are we utterly unsuccessful in raising funds in America for local missions, but overly successful in sending people across the world? Here are some reasons that people are gung-ho for foreign aid, but complacent with local missions:
- They can’t help being poor in (insert country of your choice)- While this is very true due to war, famine and disease, how is it different from here? Sure, we have the American way and all that ensures life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to all, but is that good enough? For some, it is down right impossible to get on their feet in this country- and the Church just sits by most of the time and lets poverty take storm here, while trying to fix the problems of the world. They then proceed to blame people for their current situations. Last I checked- we are no better off. So instead of saying of the bum on the street asking for money, “He should just get a job! What an eye sore!” How about we help that guy live by telling him how to truly live iin Christ and get him some physical help as well.
- Well why don’t we just let the government help them?– Heaven forbid we ever let the government beat the Church at this!! Why should the government do what God told His Church to do? I’m not saying that Government Aid is bad, but we should not divert all those in need towards politics.
- (In adoption) There are plenty of orphanages here, but there’s nothing there!- (Same as above… and then some) While it may be true that we have some government funded orphanages here in the States, why neglect those who are still in need here? The Church must be a light to its immediate context so that its light may be reflected more greatly across the globe.
Why does this matter?
I was having a conversation with a co-worker one slow evening at work. We were talking about the numerous mission trips that a mutual friend of ours had been going on recently. In the middle of that conversation she asked, “well, do they help Americans too?” This struck my heart heavily. I began to wonder, what do Americans see when the Church is rejoicing over the amount of foreign aid that goes out and neglecting the homefront?
I was thankfully able to answer that these missionaries were Gospel-centered and willing to help people here in the States as well. But that would be the challenge I leave you with… Is your heart in missions for God’s glory or do you serve selfishly in the name of Christ? We need to be constantly focused on this so as to not drift into self-serving missions.