People don’t think they need God, but they know they need this.
2020 has been a troubled year, to put it mildly. Entire industries have been brought to the brink of bankruptcy by an unseen enemy. Airports have sat empty. Downtowns deserted. Places of worship shuttered. Economies reeling. The elderly and sick forced to die alone.
And that’s just from the coronavirus.
Then there’s the social and political chaos that has swept through our cities. If ever there was a time the world needed people who consider one another, as opposed to considering only themselves… If there was ever a time the world needed people who stirred up love and good deeds instead hate and evil deeds, this is the day.
Every human being on earth is looking for one thing: life! They’re in relentless pursuit of it. They try to find it in political victory, a promised promotion, a new relationship, the next vacation. They look for it by climbing the ladder of success, accumulating money, buying stuff, and abusing drugs. They keep trying one thing after another in hope that the next thing will bring them the life they crave.
And guess what? We know where they can find it!
Novelist Bruce Marshall wrote, “The young man who rings the bell at the brothel is unconsciously looking for God.” Why? Because he’s looking for life. And God is Life.
We have what the whole world longs for. The problem is that our offer hasn’t always matched their desire.
The classic approach to missions is built on the premise that what the world needs most is Jesus, a relationship with God. They need the truth contained in the Bible. They need the gospel, which is proclaimed by the church. They need to be taught.
And so we have sent missionaries to preach the gospel, proclaim the truth, teach the Bible, and start churches.
Here’s the rub: People don’t think they need Jesus or God or truth or the Bible or the gospel or the church or a relationship with God.
But what they know they need, and have an insatiable thirst for, is the very thing Jesus came to give them.
Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy” — we’ve seen our fill of that lately, haven’t we? — “But I came that they might have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).
Life is the reason Jesus came into the world!
Not only that, but life is how He brought people into His kingdom. “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men” (John 1:4).
We often think that light produces life — that if we just offer people light and truth, it will result in new life. But John said it the other way around — it was Jesus’ embodiment of life that drew people to the light.
Jesus didn’t just announce life; He embodied life. Sinners flocked to Him, not so much because He was a holy man or a great teacher, but because He was so alive. Jesus was the most alive person they had ever met.
That, then, is our task as Jesus’ disciples. We go to the least-reached peoples of the world for the same reason He came to us: to offer them life.
We spread His glory over the face of the earth by flooding the world’s marketplaces with life-bearers.
The world may not long for God or the Bible or church, but they do long for life. And the way to offer it is to embody it. Not just to tell them that “in Him was life,” but to show them that “His life is in us.”
Dale Losch joined Crossworld as a disciple-maker in France in 1988, and has served as Crossworld’s president since 2009. He is the author of A Better Way and Giving Outside the Box. He loves to motivate people to use their God-given passions to make disciples wherever life happens.