It’s a big world. Or rather, it used to feel like it was. Globalisation has meant that the world feels like it has contracted. It takes less and less time to fly to far-off places, we can see friends and family on our computers even though they’re on the other side of the world; news is travelling so fast now that we can hear about events going on somewhere else in the world as they’re happening. You don’t even need to wait for tomorrow’s paper, which is already out of date before it’s even printed!
So as Christians we have no excuse for being uninformed about what is going on in the world, particularly with churches and fellow Christians. The information is there, the resources are available. We just need to use them.
One of the most effective resources is Operation World, which can be found here. Each day they provide you with details about a different country in the world, so you can pray. And if like me you’re liable to forget to pray, you can subscribe to a handy daily email. So from your inbox you can go straight to the needs of the world. I commend it to you. You can also get the book!
I used Operation World on Sunday in my sermon, as we were looking at Acts 8:26-40, the conversion of the Ethiopian eunuch through Philip. Even though Philip was involved in a successful mission to the Samaritans, God sent him off to what was an unpromising desert road. The eunuch was returning home from worshipping in Jerusalem to Cush (south of Egypt) when Philip met him. It looked like he’d missed the opportunity to hear about Jesus for himself. But God had other ideas.
After all, Jesus had told his disciples that they would be his witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth. For a lot of people, Cush really was the ends of the earth. When Philip had explained the gospel to him, this man went away rejoicing because he now knew Jesus. The good news of Jesus was going with him.
What strikes me is that, whatever one’s opinion is on immigration in the UK (and there are lots of views), one thing is without doubt. Lots of people are coming to the UK for work, refuge, a better life and so on. Many of them are coming from places where it is dangerous or even illegal to be or become a Christian. And they are coming here, where they can hear about the saving power of Jesus. So we need to pray that more people will be sent into this particular field, more churches engage with those who are coming into this country, because the harvest is plentiful. Many are looking for a better life. What better than to know the Saviour and King of the Universe?
Pray for the world. Pray for the world arriving on our doorstep.