The NFL's 2011 season isn't looking too good right now. I haven't followed it too closely, but apparently the players are dissatisfied with the amount of money they are making and the benefits they are receiving. I know, that's hard to imagine, but that's what I have read. A runningback for the Minnesota Vikings recently was quoted as saying that the way the NFL team owners are treating the players is "modern-day slavery". Oh, and the guy that made that ridiculous assertion was paid over 10 million dollars last season. Don't get me wrong. I'm not taking the owners' side on this. For all I know, they are just as greedy and selfish as many of the players, and perhaps they are keeping more than their fair share of the profits and cutting some corners on some of the players' benefits. I don't really know. I'm a long time football fan who does enjoy watching football games, but I'm not losing any sleep over the prospects of having no professional football for awhile. Actually, sports has become such a god in America that it may do this country good to take a break from it.
(In a related story I read that America's buffalo wing industry stands to lose billions of dollars if the NFL season gets cancelled. When I read that, I got to thinking...there may not be two greater icons of America's excessive lifestyle and love affair with pleasure than an NFL game and a plate of buffalo wings. You know, a cancelled NFL season may actually benefit the fans in more ways than one:)
Okay, back to the NFL problem. I read that some of the players have said that if it wasn't for them (the players), there would be no NFL. On it's surface that sounds reasonable. After all, it's the players who are the stars. It's the players who the nation flocks to the stadiums to see. It's the players whose names are printed on the backs of jerseys and sold for ridiculously high prices. But I recently read a commentator who made a very astute observation. He said that the players who claimed to be indispensable have it all backwards. This country of 300+ million people has lots of guys who can play football. People are playing football in high schools, colleges, city parks, backyards, and even in the middle of streets all over America. The football players could be replaced. But the owners? According to this particular commentator, that's another story. They are the ones who go out on a limb and take huge financial risks with unbelievable sums of money in order to start teams, buy teams, hire coaches, sign players, and trade players. He says the truly indispensable ones are the owners. Without them there would be no NFL.
Now...none of this really matters a hill of beans to me, but hearing all this discussion about who is indispensable did cause me to ask a question recently in my mind. Of the following two statements about missions, which one is true?
Statement A: Without missionaries, there would be no missions.
Statement B: Without supporting churches, there would be no missions.
Most of the time, missionaries get all the credit for anything that is accomplished on the mission field. It's almost as if some people think that missionaries are the key and without them, there would be no world-wide evangelization. To be sure, missionaries are an important component in God's divine formula, but the Bible clearly states that both the missionary and the sending and supporting churches are indispensable. Both are equally important and the job of taking the Gospel to the world cannot be done without both. Notice Romans 10:13-14 to see just how important a missionary really is:
"For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
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?"
Sounds pretty important right? So statement A is correct. Without missionaries, there would be no missions. But wait! How shall they hear without a preacher? is not the last question. There is one more which cannot be overlooked:
"And how shall they preach, except they be sent?"
According to this final question, we see that Statement B is equally true! Without the sending agency of the local church, there would be no missions. Of course, God can do anything He wants to do without the help of humans and yet He has chosen to put the awesome task of spreading the Gospel around the world into the hands of humans. He allows us the mind-boggling privilege of entering into a partnership with Him for this great work. And He said that whether a person is planting, watering, or harvesting, they are one (I Corinthians 3:5-9). Whether a person is preaching the Gospel, or helping to send the preacher, they are a vital and indispensable part of the Great Commission.
If you are giving to missions, please don't stop.
If you are praying for missionaries, we need you.
If you are helping in any way to send preachers of the Gospel around the world, you are indispensable!