Doug Johnson: Giving hope to those without hope in life

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 7, 2024

Paul Brand and Philip Yancey wrote the following illustration to show how important it is for us to care about people in other countries: 

“Consider the world as if it were shrunk down to a community of 1,000 persons. 

“In our town of 1,000: 

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“180 of us live high on a hill called the developed world. 

“820 of us live in the rocky bottom called the rest of the world. 

“The fortunate 180 on the hill have 80 percent of the wealth of the whole town, over half of all the rooms in town with over two rooms per person, 85 percent of all the automobiles, 80 percent of all the TV sets, 93 percent of all the telephones, and an average income of $5,000 per person per year. 

“The not-so-famous 820 people on the bottom get by on only $700 per person per year, many of them on less than $75. They average five persons to a room. 

“How does the fortunate group of hill-dwellers use its incredible wealth? Well, as a group they spend less than 1 percent of their income to aid the lower land. In the United States, for example, of every $100 earned: 

“$18.30 goes for food. 

“$6.60 is spent on recreation and amusement. 

“$5.80 buys clothes. 

“$2.40 buys alcohol. 

“$1.50 buys tobacco. 

“$1.30 is given for religious and charitable uses, and only a small part of that goes outside the U.S. 

“I wonder how the villagers on the crowded plain, a third of whose people are suffering from malnutrition, feel about the folks on the hill?” 

Before Jesus left His disciples, He gave them the ‘Great Commission’ in Mark 16:15, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” That command is still going out to His followers today. 

In fact, there are more people in the world now than when Jesus commissioned His disciples 2,000 years ago!

Here’s a trivia question for you: What is 750,000 miles long and grows twenty miles longer each day? 

Answer: The line of people who don’t know about the hope that Jesus gives! 

I would like to ask one more question: What will it profit us as Christians if we gain Christ while the rest of the world loses its soul? We cannot be selfish and keep Jesus all to ourselves. 

Pastor Rick Warren, author of “The Purpose-Driven Life,” suggests some ways we can begin to reach our world for Christ: 

1. Begin praying for specific countries by name. 

2. Ask God for courage to speak up and share your faith with those around you. 

3. Read or watch the news with “Great Commission eyes.” Wherever there is change or conflict, you can be sure that God will use it to bring people to Him. 

4. Go on a short-term mission project to another country. 

5. Financially support the many missionaries who are risking their lives to tell the world about Christ. 

No matter where you live there is something you can do to help the millions of people who need hope in their lives. 

Rev. Doug Johnson is the senior pastor at Raven Assembly of God in Raven, Virginia.