On a recent trip to Washington, DC, my parents and I visited the Natural Science Museum of the Smithsonian Institute.
While my mom and dad were examining fossils and animals of the various regions of the world, I was mindlessly meandering through the ocean exhibit (I do not find science as fascinating as my engineering dad and nurse mom). But, as I was exploring the world of sea creatures, I happened to see the placard below:
The phrase “the ends of the earth” always catches my eye because of Jesus’ use of the phrase in Acts 1:8. The phrase especially attracts my attention in a secular environment.
I don’t usually associate the “ends of the earth” with the ocean. However, this particular sign spoke of darkness at the ends of the earth. Growing up in Dallas, as a child the ends of the earth was a five hour car drive to Galveston, Texas. In high school my view changed some when I took my first mission trip and it was to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. While in college my horizons were again broadened as I went on my first international mission trip to Lima, Peru, and watched as my friends went to Germany, Thailand, and India. Over the last year my ends of the earth has included Argentina and Moldova.
There really is no end to the earth. However, all of those places, and so many like them have one thing in common.
There is darkness at the ends of the earth – not just environmental or physical darkness, but spiritual darkness.
Darkness surrounds those who wake up every morning and haven’t heard the name of Jesus. They do not know the Light of Life (John 8:12).
This past week I watched and listened to the Southern Baptist Convention annual meetings that were held in Phoenix. I was greatly looking forward to the International Mission Board Commissioning Service of 40 new missionaries that would go to various parts of the world to penetrate darkness with the Light of Christ.
As one who had two college roommates serve as journeymen through the IMB and has several career missionary friends, I have seen first-hand the passion of these international missionaries for the place the Lord has called them and the extensive process they go through in order to be appointed as a missionary.
The IMB Commissioning Service was filled with testimony from newly commissioned missionaries regarding God’s calling on their lives and their excitement about where they were going. However, it was something that Dr. Simon Tsoi prayed as he commissioned the missionaries that struck a chord with me, “Lord, how sad it is to think there are so many who have not heard of Jesus. It is far more sad to think that there are those who don’t care.”
Do I care that my neighbors don’t know Christ?
Do I care that people at the ends of the earth don’t know Christ?