By David Faust
Have you heard the slogan “Think globally, act locally”? The Lord does that all the time. Many New Testament texts highlight the church’s global mission. “Go into all the world.” “Make disciples of all nations.” “You are Christ’s ambassadors.”
Numerous missionary passages appear in the Old Testament as well, including Psalm 67. The chapter begins, “May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine on us” (v. 1). Sounds good so far. We all want God to bless us. But do we realize that God wants to show grace toward other nations just as much as he wants to bless us? Our prayers should not be for ourselves alone. The psalmist prayed for God’s blessings “so that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations” (v. 2).
Praise in Many Languages
God not only cares about people. He also cares about “peoples”—people groups with unique lan-guages, customs, and needs. The Lord told Abraham “all peoples on earth will be blessed through you” (Genesis 12:3), and Psalm 67 highlights the same theme: “May the peoples praise you, God; may all the peoples praise you” (vv. 3, 5).
In Heaven we will praise God with saved souls from “every nation, tribe, people and language” who cry out together, “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” (Revelation 7:9, 10). Can you imagine the sound of God’s praise echoing through the courts of glory as a massive multiethnic choir sings a new and improved heavenly version of “The Hallelujah Chorus” with accents in German, Hindi, Spanish, Creole, Shona, Italian, Mandarin, Swahili, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, Arabic, Malaysian, French, English, and other languages? (In Heaven even the sound system will work without flaw!)
Today we get a taste of Heaven’s glory when we support mission-aries who are leading people to Christ all over the world. “May the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you rule the peoples with equity and guide the nations of the earth” (Psalm 67:4).
A Harvest of Many Souls
Psalm 67 continues, “The land yields its harvest; God, our God, blesses us” (v. 6). Again, we need to think beyond the gifts we ourselves receive from God. The harvest of blessings we personally enjoy can supply the resources for a bigger harvest—the one Jesus described when he said, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send workers into the harvest field” (Matthew 9:37, 38).
World population passed the seven billion mark last year. The harvest has never been more plentiful. That’s why missions should be more than a program of the church; everything we do must contribute to the church’s core purpose of making disciples all over the world. We need to recruit record numbers of young people who will devote their lives to full-time mission work. Retirees and second-career professionals need to consider using the next chapter of their lives as workers in the Lord’s harvest.
The Great Commission of Matthew 28:18-20 is not an isolated text. God’s love for all nations appears throughout the Bible, including Psalm 67: “May God bless us still, so that all the ends of the earth will fear him” (v. 7). God thinks globally and acts locally. So should we.
David Faust is president of Cincinnati Christian University, Cincinnati, Ohio, and past Executive Editor of the Lookout.
Use this guide to read through the Bible in 12 months. Follow David Faust’s comments on the highlighted text in every issue of THE LOOKOUT.
THE LOOKOUT’s Bible Reading Plan for March 18, 2012
Deuteronomy 4, 5