What would it take for more young men to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth?
An article from Radical asks this question, “Where are the men?” It cites the statistic that single women are three times more likely than single men to enter the mission field.
“Two-thirds of missionaries are married couples, the other third are single women, the rest are single men.”
Where are the men in missions? What is holding men back?
Missions doesn’t exist the way it should because men don’t worship as we should.
John Piper says, “Missions exists because worship doesn’t.”
We know true worship doesn’t exist in the world, but what about inside the church? More specifically, what about in the men of the church?
What if missions does not exist to the extent that it should because, in practicality, true worship does not exist in the young men in the church?
Piper explains, “Seeking the worship of the nations is fueled by the joy of our own worship. You can’t commend what you don’t cherish. You can’t proclaim what you don’t prize. Worship is the fuel and the goal of missions.”
Missions is a natural outlet of true worship “because we have tasted the joy of worshiping Jesus, and we want all the families of the earth included.”
We need to restore Christ’s rightful place in our hearts to worship.
What we worship takes its prominent place on the throne of our hearts, so we have to ask ourselves, what is taking the prominent place in my heart?
Anything that stands in the way of Christ’s rightful place is the idol we worship.
Say what you will about Tom Brady, but men know his name. They buy his merchandise, and many even “worship” him to some degree. We think of worship as a religious idea, but consider the expression of reverence and honor we show the famed quarterback.
It doesn’t just happen with famous football players. We are guilty of replacing Christ with many other people and earthly treasures: friends, girlfriend, wife, kids, a new house, a raise, a new sports car, pornography, and the list goes on. We go out of our way and are willing to sacrifice for whatever truly holds our love and worship. What is taking the prominent place in the hearts of “would-be” missionaries?
The same article in Radical gives us a few suggestions. “The most common answers are: pornography, student debt, and bad dating choices.” Men, we are caught in false worship. We are not leading our sisters, our churches, or our families well in our example of worship when they see our raving fan-ness in front of our TVs, phones, or computers but not in the church rows or on the mission field.
What, then, is true worship?
Before we can start to change this crisis, we need to understand true worship. In Romans 12:1, Paul exhorts, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.”
- True worship is a “living sacrifice,” giving it all, laying it all down, not just in death but in life. To live is Christ; to die is gain.
- To be someone who has given himself wholly over to God is “holy and pleasing” to God, to live a holy life, set apart, laying everything down at the feet of Christ.
- If we live like this, as Paul says, “in view of God’s mercy,” then that sacrifice is one of love and not duty. Jesus says the greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind. When we love him as we should, we cannot help but obey his commands (John 14:23-24).
Men need a vision.
“My heart is steadfast, O God! I will sing and make melody with all my being! Awake, O harp and lyre! I will awake the dawn! I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples: I will sing praises to you among the nations. For your steadfast love is great above the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the clouds. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth! That your beloved ones may be delivered, give salvation by your right hand, and answer me!”
The men are there, waiting to receive a powerful, bold, impactful vision of Christ and their “true and proper worship” of him. It’s a vision that makes them stand boldly to their feet and worship the King of Kings in front of all nations with the passion of the psalmist.
If churches, let alone men, are not seized with a powerful, worthy vision of obedience to Christ, it is no wonder there are so few men “risking it all” for the glory of their King. Our challenge does not center around getting more involvement on mission trips, the sending committee, or even in the announcements and ad campaigns of mission agencies.
Our problem starts with the vision we have of Christ. Compare the feeling we approach our weekly worship or our daily time in the Word with how we approach the activities or people we devote our time and attention to. If He is not the one for whom we are willing to lay down our lives, if we are not willing to worship him and him alone, then we will not be willing to give up the things we worship in Christ’s place.
If we are professing Christians and say we worship Christ, where is the fervor for his glory and name? Where are the bold men who would carry the name of the Lord to the farthest reaches of the world?