“The United States is the Jerusalem,” he boldly declared, referring to America’s position of prominence among other nations.
Had these words come from my mind or mouth, or that of any other American, it would have sounded as the very pinnacle of arrogance. But from his mouth, it was an indictment. No doubt he intended it as a plea, but through work of the Holy Spirit that sometimes occurs between the speaker’s lips and the hearers’ ears it had obtained a convicting power.
The speaker was a dear brother from West Africa. I’ll not disclose his name here, as his country is a dangerous place and I don’t wish to add to that danger. But he spoke to us at the 2011 BMAA Missions Symposium this week in Lufkin, Texas. He spoke of the work going on in West Africa and encouraged us by it. But then he told us how he is saddened to see so many churches in the United States dying a slow death.
He told us that the churches in the United States are like the church in Jerusalem in the early days. We are the base of operations, the support, the encouragement. They look to us as an example.
He asked, “What will happen if Jerusalem is lost?” That question cut me to the heart.
We equip, encourage, and fund brothers and sisters, and send them across the world to carry out the Great Commission as our “proxy”—to borrow the word used by our missions director. We pay lip service to the sacrifice they make, all the while, we allow the churches of “Jerusalem” to die of neglect.
If we truly want to support our missionaries overseas, we should send money, prayers, and encouragement. But we best support them by doing our part at home, by getting busy and reaching Jerusalem, so that they may reach Judea, Samaria, and the uttermost parts of the Earth.