“In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.
It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
It rises at one end of the heavens
and makes its circuit to the other;
nothing is deprived of its warmth.” (Psalm 19:5,6 NIV)
Isaac Watts, who penned many of our best-loved hymns, wrote, “Jesus shall reign where’er the sun does his successive journeys run; His kingdom stretch from shore to shore, till moons shall wax and wane no more.” As the sun travels across the heavens spreading its warmth from east to west, so the gospel spreads throughout the earth and people from every nation come to feel the warmth of its light.
The Baptist movement (as well as the early church!) began with a great zeal for world missions; it is at the heart of who we are. At a time when we have so many needs in our own country, I see less interest in missions abroad. While I am also eager to take care of our own here at home, I also believe that the pure teachings of Christ, unadulterated by our particular cultural biases, are the path of life and blessing for people everywhere. As Isaac Watts wrote in his hymn,
“Blessings abound where’er He reigns;
The prisoner leaps to lose his chains;
The weary find eternal rest,
And all the sons of want are blessed.
Where He displays His healing power,
Death and the curse are known no more:
In Him the tribes of Adam boast
More blessings than their father lost.”
My hope and prayer is that we can care for the work of the gospel at home while also recapturing a vibrant commitment to world missions! I have come to bask in the love of Christ; I want no one to be deprived of his warmth.