The idea about missions stems from Jesus’ Great Commission “(Mt 28:18-20).
However, the church has forgotten that this same Jesus is the same person who gave Acts 1:8. But earlier Ezekiel states the conduct of missions; eat the roll, go to the house of Israel and speak (Ezek 3:1-11). To make these verses speak the same thing we will start by outlining what the commission was. In the first passage, Jesus commissions us to two assignments: to teach and baptize them, and to follow a methodology. In the second he explains how they must do it. Before they go, they should start in Jerusalem (hometown or immediate surrounding) then to their counties, states and entire world. In Ezekiel, the people speak your language and are not strangers. Why would anyone who has never even witnessed to their neighbor, who has never even won a soul in the Lord in America, leave for Africa, Latin America or Europe for missions if it was not a field trip or touristic site seeing?
A friend of mine told me they were going to Ethiopia for mission. I asked her if she has preached to her neighbors, she said she does not even know them, though she has lived with them for more than a year. So why is she going to extremities of the earth when she has not yet even preached in Jerusalem? Well let us put those three passages in their proper perspectives.
Jesus told them to go and preach, teach and baptize the people (Mt 28:18-20). To do that, they should start in Jerusalem. When the gospel is made known, then they can go to Samaria, Judea and extremities of the earth. The complication of starting in Jerusalem was that the inhabitants knew these same disciples. Therefore, it would be a tough job. The disciples had nothing to hide. They could preach and preach even to their relatives.
Today many people don’t even know their very family members, and they have a lot to hide. They are rushing to Africa to preach love in missions. Charity begins at home. Go show that love to your family and neighbors, coworkers and community before you fly to Africa or Caribbean.
How would they even preach to them? I met a young man who has not seen the family for 30 years, and he told me “the Christians are my family now”. Paul told Timothy “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel (I Tim 5:8)." Jesus said, “Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother (Mt 12:49-50). If you look at the verse well, it does not make us a reclusive turncoat. What about your family members who have heard the word? Now let’s say they have not believed. How then would they believe in Him they have not heard (Rom 10:14)? Jesus’ mother and family heard him preach and followed him too. My family did same!
I will adjure the American church to first start by witnessing to their neighbors before going to Africa, Latin America and Asia for missions. As much as Africans need the world for missions, America needs Americans badly for missions. Why would anyone who neither knows nor speaks to his or her neighbor in America be going out for missions?
However, seeing that their African, Asian and Latin American counterparts are tacitly begging with the pretext of missions, this practice will continue until may be Jesus comes back. Don't talk to me about foreign missions if your family, friends, neighbors, community have not heard the word from your mouth.
Until then, charity begins at home.
Prince & PA Hamilton Ayuk