Missionary, do you wonder what would happen if you didn’t answer God’s call?
Christian, are you refusing to answer the call that you know God has given to you?
What could have been?
Yesterday I read a blog post by Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra. (Rectifying the ‘Greatest Missed Opportunity in Christian History’) She told of a long ago missed opportunity to share Jesus with the people of Mongolia. This opportunity happened about 700 years ago when Kublai Khan asked the pope for 100 men skilled in religion. Since he did not foresee the impact this one moment could have, Pope Gregory X sent 2 men – not 100! What if 100 Bible-believing missionaries had gone to Mongolia instead? Think of what could have been. Kublai Khan had an interest in religion. He even asked for help. When the help did not come, he turned toward Buddhism. As a result of Kublai Khan’s influence, Mongolia was led into Buddhism.
Today a staggering percentage – over 50% – of the Mongolian people follow Buddha and his teachings.
In contrast, I thought of Hudson Taylor and his ministry in China a little over 150 years ago. On 2 different occasions,Hudson Taylor asked for Christians to come to China and help with the work. Thankfully both times that he asked for more workers, more missionaries came than he requested.
What a difference those missionaries must have made throughout the years in the country of China.
Although both Mongolia and China were under the rule of Communist ideology, they had much different results. In Mongolia, the Communist regime was effective in greatly reducing the number of Christians in the country. If you read Sarah’s post, you will see that it is thought there were only 4 Christians living in Mongolia, a country of 2 million people at the time that Mongolia broke free from Communism. Praise the LORD that the Mongolian people have responded to the witness of the missionaries who came with the news of salvation since then. (The 4 Christians in 1990 have grown in number to more than 30,000.)
While China has been ruled by Communism, the continuing ripple effect of the missionaries who came to China is still felt today. When you consider how the Communists have sought to stop Christianity, you would expect very low numbers of Christians in China also. Instead, the estimated number of Christians in Communist China today is estimated by the BBC to be greater than the number of members in the Communist party! My thoughts are speculative in nature – I believe that the influence of the 150+ missionaries who came to China has much to do with the thriving church of China in the face of great opposition today.
The number of Christians in both Mongolia and China are believed to be a little above 2% of the population now, but various sources estimate that there are tens of millions more Christians in China than what is officially reported.
How different the numbers might have been for Mongolia! If 100 Christian Bible teachers had been sent, perhaps Kublai Khan’s spiritual yearning could have been truly fulfilled. If 100 Christian missionaries had gone to Mongolia, over 50% of the current population could have been Christian, rather than Buddhist as it is today. This is heart-breaking to think about.
So what difference should this make for you?
Never underestimate the ongoing effect of your witness. You do not know how far-reaching it may be when you share Jesus with one who does not know Him. Don’t be discouraged. Remain faithful. Always be willing to share the Gospel with those who show a desire for spiritual things. You don’t want to be the one who has missed a great opportunity to share Jesus – the one who wonders what could have been.