“I thank my God…For your fellowship [partnership] in the gospel from the first day until now” (Philippians 1:3a, 5).
William Carey, the great missionary to India, said to a body of people, “I will go down if you will hold the ropes.” It’s a great thought. It’s a great mental picture. “I will go into the places where you will never go, but you must hold the ropes. I’ll go down into the caves if you’ll hold on. I’ll go as long as you’re here holding fast, holding tight.”
Missionary work is a partnership. We cannot fulfill the Great Commission without them going, and they cannot go unless we send them. Paul wrote, “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent?” (Romans 10:14-15a).
God called Paul and Barnabas to missionary work as they served in the church at Antioch (see Acts 13:1-2). What was the response of the church? “And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away” (Acts 13:3). Fasting. Praying. Sending. Going. That’s what it takes!
A famous artist was once asked to paint a picture of a dying church. It was expected that he would paint a small and humble congregation in an old, rundown, dilapidated building. Instead, he painted a stately edifice with a rich pulpit and magnificent windows — and near the door, an offering box, marked “Missions” with the contribution slot blocked by cobwebs.
When a church loses its burden for missions, it can pretend to be alive, but it’s really dead! It has ceased to be a New Testament church. Remember, the missions of the church is missions! Our Missions Conference is right around the corner. Will you be a rope holder for those who are going?