What would you say is the greatest crisis that we face in the world?
Actually, the single greatest crisis of our day is that there are human beings who are not Christians. The crisis is so great, in fact, that there are actually entire people groups that still have not heard the gospel one single time.
This is by far the single greatest crisis of our day. Let me be clear about what I mean. It is of far greater consequence for one person to be saved than for all of Africa to be cured of its AIDS epidemic. It is of far greater consequence for one person to be saved than the cure for all cancers to be found. It is of far greater consequence for one person to be saved than for homelessness or world hunger to be solved. Lostness is a far greater crisis than racial brokenness, the displaced refugee crisis, terrorism, millions of babies being aborted, human trafficking, and orphans in need of adoption.
If someone dies in their lost state, they burn in hell forever. “For the wages of sin is [eternal] death …” (Romans 6:23)
Recently, a friend went to the ER with an intolerable headache and discovered he has a brain tumor. Now, let’s be clear, the headache was intolerable. So much so, surgeons performed emergency surgery in which they cut open his skull and drained fluid to provide relief in order that he could live with any quality of life. The headache was a major problem that needed significant attention. But, nonetheless, the headache was a symptom of the tumor. At all times, the doctors and my friend have been clear that the greater crisis at hand is the tumor.
As we see many symptoms of brokenness in our culture today, let’s not lose sight of the root cause. Social injustices are the intolerable headache; lostness is the tumor. One is a serious symptom; the other is the heart of the problem.
I have led my church to be involved in social justice issues including sanctity of human life, religious liberty, refugee ministry, immigration ministry, orphan care, hunger and more. And I am really proud of my members who are personally involved in these ministries. Out of our love and allegiance to Christ, we love our neighbors as we love ourselves; all of the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments.
But none of this changes the fact that the single greatest need of our culture is evangelism and missions. Yes, we still address the symptoms of lostness in our culture, but our priority must be the heart of the problem—lostness.
As leaders of churches, we must regularly clarify in the minds of our people the symptoms of brokenness from the root cause, lest they become confused. Though we lead our churches to help provide culture with relief from social injustices, above all else let us prioritize and emphasize the actual sharing of the Good News with unbelievers.