Darrow Miller, in an article entitled Agriculture and the Kingdom of God, includes this compelling example of what can happen when missionaries lose sight of the extent of God’s Big Agenda:
About twenty years ago, evangelical missionaries moved into the unreached agricultural communities of the poorest province of Guatemala. They journeyed there to evangelize and plant churches. The people they were working with, the Pokomchi, were the poorest people in the poorest province of one of the poorest countries in the Americas. Many people came to Christ. Churches were planted. By mission standards, the task was done. The missionaries moved on to other communities. But, in one sense, little had changed. The Pokomchi were living in as much poverty after the missionaries left as when they arrived. What was different? Now, the people were waiting to die! They had hope for heaven. Praise the Lord! But they had no hope for today! Is this a picture of “success”? Is this what the Great Commission all about?
Darrow goes on to note that “Part of our task is to help the farmer to know the First Farmer, so that he may come to think about farming the right way.” He would agree with me when I add, Yes, to think about farming the right way and to enter into eternal relationship that First Farmer as well. The salvation of a farmer’s soul has eternal ramifications and thus its importance must never be diminished.
Yet it was Jesus who said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” Can we disregard the present-day sufferings of people and consider ourselves His servants?
For further reflections on this subject, see God’s Present Intentions by DNA co-founder Bob Moffit.