The reward for those who go is different from those who stay, but those who stay can participate in the frontline efforts by praying for, financially supporting, staying in contact with, participating in strategic short-term mission trips that encourage, equipping, and assisting the missionaries.
Whenever missionaries speak at our church my heart leaps in my chest. Their PowerPoint slides get my spiritual adrenaline pumping. There is something undeniably compelling about the thought of being on the front lines of the Great Commission. And yet, the reality is that we cannot all go. Some need to stay in order to send.
Navy SEALs aren’t content with a desk job in the safety of the homeland. But not everyone in the military can be a SEAL. For every combatant on the front line, there are ten behind-the-scenes personnel diligently operating logistics, supply chains, and other support efforts. And that doesn’t even include the administrative positions back home.
The same can be said for missionaries. Where would William Carey be if he went into the pit without anyone holding the ropes? He’d be in the pit…alone. You can be on mission with your missionaries by being actively involved in your local church’s missions effort.
In the book of Nehemiah, the Israelites had begun to re-occupy the Promised Land after seventy long years of exile. But there was a problem: nobody really wanted to live in Jerusalem. It was a shell of its former self, having been destroyed by the invasion. The city didn’t even have a wall to designate it as a city, let alone the glorious capital of God’s chosen nation. Zion was a dump. And this did not sit well with Nehemiah. His heart burned for Jerusalem’s glory to be restored. So, he prayed, he seized opportunities, and he responded with action. Nehemiah led the effort to rebuild the walls of the city. The story reads like a thriller, except with bricklayers.
But in chapter 11 there is a stark reality that needed addressing: who would move out of their paneled houses into the post-apocalyptic rubble of Jerusalem?
Nehemiah did what every good leader would—he led by example. He and the heads of the clans all moved into the city.