I have to make life and death decisions every day as a Christian serving in a Muslim country where it is illegal to preach the Gospel and gather as a church. Should we share Christ boldly with neighbors who know where we live? Should we meet people who have asked for Bible’s online? Should we make a video called “Dispatches”? Should we do a nationwide radio broadcast weekly preaching the Gospel? Should we meet with the local believers in church on Sunday? Will our actions in ministry cause someone to be arrested? Fired? Beaten? or even killed?
Over the last eight years we have seen all of those results except the last…but that day is coming, too. Men we have won to Christ and trained have been arrested and interrogated and threatened by the police in their own cities. Many believers have been fired. One of my very close friends who has three kids has been fired three times for his witness for Christ! Brothers and sisters have been beaten by friends and family. But we have not yet resisted unto blood, as the author to the Hebrews reminded some.
The seriousness of our decisions and actions has paralyzed many. It has also caused hot criticism between missionaries and organizations. I have been told by a missionary friend just last year that I am “playing with people’s lives.” Well, this is not a game and I am not playing.
Since I am a servant of One Master I have to answer only to Him. So here are some questions that I try to consider daily when making decisions:
- What would we do if we knew Jesus were coming back soon?
- What will we wish we would have done on the day we stand before Christ to give an account for our stewardship of His Gospel?
- What actions have the greatest opportunity to make Christ famous and motivate laborers to go to the field and preach His Gospel?
- What level of openness would be in keeping with the New Testament? What level of openness would be normative in church history including the Apostles, the church fathers like Ignatius and Justin Martyr, the Anabaptists of the 16th century like Hubmaier and Simmons, the Englsh Baptists like Bunyon, the early missionaries like Judson and Paton, the evangelical pastors imprisoned during communism like Wurmbrand and Tson, and the countless others throughout the last 2,000 years who have suffered and died for the proclamation of the Gospel?
- What actions will cause us to enjoy eternity with Christ with the greatest number of North African converts to Christ?
On the other hand, here are some questions that we did not consider worthy of Christ’s call on our lives:
- What criticism might we receive?
- What strategy can all mission groups agree on?
- What strategy will eliminate any chance of or even likely suffering for Christ?
I don’t believe I have attained to obedience of my conscience concerning my answers to the first set of questions. I think I fail daily to live up to New Testament cross-carrying. But I am daily seeking to please my Master.
What about you? What do you think of this list of questions? How does it impact your life and ministry?