Isaiah 52:7 “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”
Proverbs 28:27 “Whoever gives to the poor will not be in need, but he who hides his eyes will receive many curses.”
There is a long history of faithful people going into unreached territories to share the hope of the gospel. Hudson Taylor, John Eliot, and David Livingston to name a few, the world has known many who have faithfully served when no one else would.
After Jesus’ death the disciples became apostles which is from the greek word apostolos, or messenger.
A brief reminder of Jesus’ disciples gives us His 12 who were: 1) Peter (originally known as Simon and Simon Peter); 2) Andrew (Simon’s brother); 3) James the Elder (the “disciple that Jesus loved”); 4) John (James the Elder’s brother); 5) Philip; 6) Bartholomew; 7) Matthew (or Levi); 8) James the Less (or James the Younger, possibly Jesus’s brother); 9) Thaddeus (or Jude or Judas, brother of James the Less); 10) Thomas (“Doubting Thomas”); 11) Simon Zelotes; and 12)Judas Iscariot. After Jesus’s death, the disciples became the Apostles (a Greek word that means “ones sent forth”) and Judas Iscariot, the betrayer of Jesus, was replaced by Matthias.
After the ascension of Christ into Heaven and the Holy Spirit was given to the church, these 12 disciples along with the hundreds who followed Christ during His ministry and the thousands who became followers of Christ thereafter were the first missionaries on earth.
The Apostles spread Christianity from Jerusalem to Damascus, to Antioch, to Asia Minor, to Greece, and finally to Rome. Although there is little evidence to back up the assertion, some people believe that James the Elder went to Spain, Thomas went to India, Matthew went to Ethiopia and Bartholomew to Armenia.
Thomas the Apostle went east, through what is now Syria and Iran and, historians believe, on down to southern India. He traveled farther than even the indefatigable Paul, whose journeys encompassed much of the Mediterranean. Of all the Apostles, Thomas represents most profoundly the missionary zeal associated with the rise of Christianity—the drive to travel to the ends of the known world to preach the way of Salvation.
Matthew 28:18-20 “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
The commission that Jesus made was one that has echoed throughout the history of the church. The gospel has spread far and wide and continues today among the faithful. Those who have gone forth in faithfulness to God’s call have done so in poverty, danger, and great faith. Not knowing where they would get the support or even where they might go, the work of the gospel has been supported by many unsung heros.
During Jesus’ ministry, the need to fund his ministry was provided in a large part by women and those who were transformed by their interactions during His ministry.
Luke 8:1-3 “Soon afterward, Jesus traveled from one town and village to another, preaching and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with Him, as well as some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, Joanna the wife of Herod’s household manager Chuza, Susanna, and many others. These women were ministering to them out of their own means.”
Mary, Joanna, and Susanna were not only supportive but likewise instrumental in helping further the kingdom of God. Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, both men of stature and wealth, chipped in to help fund Jesus’ ministry as well.
We are all called to be administers of God’s message of law and grace. The work of the gospel takes all of the church, working together in unity to further the hope we have all come to know. Whether you are the one who treks across China like Hudson Taylor or one of the many faithful who never had their names recorded in history—the hand and the foot both remain essential.
What role has the Lord called you to serve in? Have you been faithful in whatever measure He has asked you to give?
Jesus didn’t have to concern Himself with raising funds, finding food to eat on a continual basis or paying for traveling expenses. Jesus had those around Him who supported His work, doing the very important small aspects of ministry that are essential to every work of God.
The reward for these silent faithful will be as great as those in prominence.
Matthew 20:16 “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”
The expectation of the Lord is that we are simply obedient to His call. He doesn’t ask us to do anything more than He has equipped us for. Each place in the Kingdom of God has significance. Each role in His Kingdom is as vital as the next.
Matthew 5:3-10 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn,for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,f or they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
You see, God’s blessings are not reserved for those the world calls great, He looks at the humble, the obedient, the loving, the pure, essentially, those who exemplify Christ.
Whatever your abilities, background, or scope of influence, do it all for the glory of God and you will be blessed.
He promises that.