In many countries that I have visited, my heart has broken over the many children begging in the streets. I have never been to Africa but I’m sure that I couldn’t handle seeing children starving and dying with diseases. Your first love as a missionary may be one of sympathy, but this is not enough to keep you on the mission field! You must see people the way Jesus sees them. Without a Savior, they will die and spend a Christless eternity in Hell! He has sent us with His message of hope for them! Maybe you have heard this phrase before — “They will never know care how much you know until they know how much you care.” We must show them God’s love!
People are people everywhere. In your home country they may be refined and educated but they are no different in God’s eyes than the poorest blind begger on the streets of New Dehli. We see in the Bible more stories of where Jesus cared for the lame, the blind, the dumb, the children than he did over the richest man! He went to the seemingly unlovely and undeserving people first. Luke 4:18 – “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.” Jesus has these stories in the Bible for a reason. When you read about the widow of Sarepta who was gathering her sticks to eat and die with her son, you may feel compassion for her but Elijah felt more than this. He saw her as a person that could serve the Lord. He saw her as God saw her — a human being in need of a Savior.
Sometimes the unloveliest are the ones who need the most love! Isn’t it easy to love the cute little 3-year-old boy who can spout off Scripture by memory and is always wearing a stylish little Gymboree outfit? But what about the little snotty-nosed 3 year old who comes to church on the bus with ragged mismatched clothes? When you ask God to help you love people you will love this little boy as much as the Gymboree kid. I remember once in Argentina that a mother came to our church asking Jeff and I to take her children because she could no longer care for them. When Jeff asked her why she would choose us to adopt her children, she told him that she asked her little 8-year-old girl who she would want to live with, and she said that we were the only ones who loved her. I was always hugging the kids at church. I never hugged her more than any of the others but my every Sunday hug was her reason for choosing our family. I cried when Jeff came home and told me that that little girl had chosen us! Of course we would adopt the children! But God had other plans for these kids, as they never came to live with us. An aunt from another city said that she would take them, and I never saw that little girl again. A couple years later the aunt called me and told me that the little girl had asked if I would please send her a Bible. You never know what God is going to do when you just love on people!
Do you love the people on your mission field in the way that HE loves them? If you don’t learn to love them and their differences you will soon wither away on the mission field. Every little thing you despise about them and their culture will cause you to withdraw into your own comfy little curl on the couch with your Iphone in hand, ready to mentally travel to the comforts of “home” in the USA. Do you love them enough to be their friend? Do you love them enough to not only care for them physically but also spiritually? Do you love them enough to tell them about Jesus?