Into All the World: Volume 2, Issue 7

Having Trouble with our Gadgets

by Terry Childers

Photo of Terry ChildersEvidence abounds of a growing dependence on sophisticated electronic gadgetry; in some cases it borders on addiction. Consider that when an announcement is made like, “The latest [name any cutting-edge device] will arrive at retailers next week” that scores of people begin lining up days in advance—many of them will actually sleep on the ground and eat stale food in order to remain in line—so they can begin an up-close and personal relationship with the latest wonder-gadget.

Missionary Highlight
Ron and Anne M.

Ron MPlease pray for Ron and Anne M. They are on deputation for a specific Central Asian Country. This country is home to several least reached peoples. There are 844,000 Kyrgz, 776,000 Northern Uzbek, 59,000 Dungan, 49,000 Uyghur, 49,000 Turk, 40,000 Kazakh and many others that call this country home according to Joshua Project. There are less than 2% that claim Christianity among these peoples with fewer, if any, that are evangelical.

Ron and Anne are currently carrying out their deputation ministry around Bowie, TX while they are training at Baptist Bible Translators Institute.

Please invite this family to present their ministry at your church and prayerfully consider supporting them.

Missionary Humor

How many missionaries does it take to change a light bulb?

It takes two (“…and sent them two and two…”) along with thirty nationals to see the light.

Missionary Quote

“We Christians are debtors to all men at all times in all places, but we are so smug to the lostness of men. We’ve been ‘living in Laodicea,’ lax, loose, lustful, and lazy. Why is there this criminal indifference to the lostness of men? Our condemnation is that we know how to live better than we are living.”
—Leonard Ravenhill

Don’t think for a minute that I am railing against gadgets, tools or people who own them; there is nothing wrong with the ownership or use of them. Being an avid gadget-lover myself I frequently check yard sales and online forums for bargain deals. An eight inch tall plastic figurine on my desk symbolizes the gadget-lover in me. It was given to me by a friend who marveled at the various gadgets and gizmos I used for building projects, car repairs, layout work etc.—the figurine is the amazing Inspector Gadget himself! Enough confession for now.

Gadgets are known to be troublesome. However, I’m writing about the possibility of having gadget trouble of another kind, not with the gadget itself, but from overdependence of needing gadgets when it come to the ministry. I am thinking particularly in the area of cross-cultural missions, how an undesirable side effect might show up in nationals whom we are training for the ministry, i.e. that we would inadvertently give them the impression that manmade devices are an absolute must to the success and productivity of God’s work.

A.W. Tozer tells this story: “I heard a man boast this afternoon on the radio to come to his place because they were bringing in a lot of equipment… to serve the Lord with. What equipment do you need to serve the Lord with, brother? Do you need a bushel basket full of stuff to serve the Lord with?” (from Success and the Christian, pg. 30)

I personally became aware of this syndrome at a fellowship meeting in a foreign country. I asked the national pastors to write down two or three of the most important needs they had in their ministry. As my eyes scanned their notes I was hoping to see at least a few spiritual expressions, such as: My greatest need is the fullness of God’s Holy Spirit; or, greater wisdom from God, etc. To my dismay what they perceived as being their most important needs covered the length and breadth of needing more stuff; i.e. a motor vehicle, generator, P.A. system, keyboard, projector, computer, etc. While I wondered why their thinking was so carnal, a haunting thought came over me: Am I and/or my fellow missionaries guilty of setting such an example for them to follow?

Each of us has a personal responsibility to see to it that our life and ministry is God-dependent rather than gadget-dependent. Confining our gadgets to their rightful places might allow God opportunity to fill His rightful place as our Enabler and Sustainer. We could really use an app that would restore our vision to a much needed Biblical perspective on the necessity of God’s personal presence in our life and labors; I believe such an app is available, it works like this: spend a mere two minutes writing down great accomplishments as they are recorded in the Scriptures—for example Noah’s Ark, the Exodus, shepherd boy kills 10′ giant, the Temple, Daniel in the lions’ den, the evangelization of the first-century world, etc. Whatever ends up on our list, we can be certain of at least two things: 1.) ALL of these, and I mean ALL… were done without any of the must-have, modern-day inventions, such as printing presses, radios, telephones, automobiles, airplanes, audio/video equipment, computers, internet, ad infinitum. 2.) The active involvement of the Person of God can be clearly seen in each event. These were NOT primarily what men did for God; rather, they are what God was pleased to do through men who were dependent on Him.

Think about this: if all our equipment really makes us more productive, we should be exponentially more productive than the primitive believers we read about in the book of Acts; but are we?

Brother Paul pursued personal intimacy with the Person of Christ; we all would do well to follow his example as he simply cried out, “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection.”

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