Day thirty eight of The Purpose Driven Life discusses the difference between a worldly Christian and a world-class Christian. Whereas worldly Christians are most concerned about themselves and their own happiness and blessing, world-class Christians are far more concerned with their mission of reaching the lost. As the world shrinks through increased transportation and communication it becomes easier and easier for Christians to fulfill their mission of reaching out to the world. Rick Warren provides several pointers on how to think like a world-class Christian.
- Shift from self-centered thinking to other-centered thinking. Mature Christians, like mature people, think more of others and less of themselves. I need to ask the Holy Spirit to help me think of the spiritual needs of unbelievers whenever I talk to them. I need to figure out what is keeping them from coming to Christ and do what I can to help remove that barrier.
- Shift from local thinking to global thinking. The business world thinks in global terms and we need to learn from that. I need to begin to think and pray globally, focusing on particular nations and groups. I need to pray for opportunities to witness, for courage to speak up, for those who will believe, for the rapid spread of the message and for more workers. Warren says that the best way to switch to global thinking is to go on a short-term missions trip and actually experience global missions.
- Shift from “here and now” thinking to eternal thinking. To make the most of my life I need to maintain an eternal perspective. This is an area the book has focused on in each chapter, and as we have learned, it is far more important to build up treasures in heaven than on earth.
- Shift from thinking of excuses to thinking of creative ways to fulfill your commission. If I am willing I will always be able to find a way to serve. I do not need a special call as all Christians have already been given to call!
The chapter closes with more discussion of the importance of every Christian going on a short-term missions trip.
Warren quotes the Bible twenty five times using eight translations and paraphrases. One verse was used outside of its proper context. In speaking about the importance of praying for specific countries he quotes Psalm 2:8 which reads, “If you ask me, I will give you the nations; all the people on earth will be yours.” He does not quote the next verse which reads, “You will rule them with an iron scepter; you will dash them to pieces like pottery.” When read in context we see that the verse refers to something other than praying for the conversion of the nations. The Psalmist is talking about vanquishing nations.
Point to Ponder
Today’s point to ponder is “the Great Commission is my commission.” I agree with this statement wholeheartedly. The Commission was given to the apostles and extends to us today. Each and every Christian bears the responsibility to carry out this commission. However, I am not sure that it means that each of us is to go on a missions trip. I struggle a bit with Warren’s teaching on this matter.
I often wonder if the thousands of dollars spent sending a person on a mission trip would not be better spent on those already engaged in missions. I have little doubt that missions trips have a great affect on those who go on them, but I am a little more skeptical that they have the same type of affect on the people they are intended to reach. It is common knowledge that the best missionaries are those who are indigenous to the nation they work in. The two or three thousand dollars I might spend on a two or three week trip to a third world nation might support one or two indigenous missionaries for an entire year! Would it not be better to use the money to support someone who can build deep and lasting relationships with the people in the other nation? Having spoken to some missionaries about this matter, they will often say that mission trips, especially involving groups of teenagers, can damage their work as it consumes resources, both time and money, that would be better used elsewhere.
I am uncertain on this matter and would love to get some comments on what other people think.
Tomorrow’s topic is Balancing Your Life