Is the Bible our textbook on missions--or our handbook? Is the Bible the source of our enthusiasm? The foundation of our call? The guidepost to our objectives? Or have we become so wrapped up in mechanics that we have failed to specialize in its message?
Never have we had so many books and schools on missions. Since we are so human, it is altogether possible that we are using substitutes for "thus saith the Lord." When Henry Martyn offered himself to the Society for Missions to Africa and the East, many of his closest friends scorned him. But we read: "He had learned the secret of relying on divine guidance rather than on the opinions of men, and, although there must have been some pain at crossing the wishes of his friends, he was determined to 'obey God rather than man.'"
Perhaps we should again ask, What are we after in missions? If we seek anything other than that souls may hear and live, perhaps we deserve to die. The missionary must indeed recapture the meaning of the word "servant" and "become all things to all men that by all means he might win some." This must be a reality, not just a slogan.
These are perilous days. But missions have never known any other kind. When William Carey sailed for India we read, "The India of these days was a land of turmoil and war." Yet he clung to Isaiah 54:2. He based his famous words "Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God" on this Bible passage.
This is not the time to quit. This is no time to let up. This is no time to hold back on God either with money or personnel. Heroic missionaries still labor on the fields of the world. They still lay down their lives when necessary.
By Rev. V. F. Anderson, Director of Overseas Ministries, 1961