What time in history was the best? If the date of your birth were up to you, what would it be? Maybe you’d like to see the Dead Sea part for the Israelites, or witness the risen Jesus, or be present when revival swept Ireland?
From a missionary’s point of view, now is the best time, and here are five reasons why.
#1 It’s the best time to harvest eternal fruit.
The spiritual gains of our present life will determine how we spend eternity. Jesus said:
Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. Rev. 22:12.
Never before have there been so many opportunities to store up rewards in heaven. There are more people that need saving, and more wickedness to rise above, then at any time in history.
The words of Jesus apply doubly to us:
Do you not say, ‘Four months more and then the harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. Even now the reaper draws his wages, even now he harvests the crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. Jhn. 4:35, 36
#2 We are alive to watch the population explode.
Since the time of creation, and right through the industrial revolution, the global population remained below one billion. In the 1860’s a dramatic change began. Put another way, for 233 generations the population never reached one billion; then, beginning with our great grandfathers, it rushed upward to the current seven billion. By the year 2050, the population is predicted to reach 10.5 billion.
For the mission-minded Christian, this is exciting news! Population explosion means opportunities for sharing Christ. Each of the seven billion persons alive today is a soul God wants to cherish for eternity. God is radically increasing his harvest and we have the assignment of reaching them with his awesome message. No one who came before, not Abraham, David, or Paul had the opportunity we have.
#3 We have access to the world.
Television, radio, print media, telephones, Internet, cars, and planes are recent inventions. I can remember when there were no cell phones or Internet, now I can’t live without them. We have the tools, and, if we’ll dig deep enough, the resources to reach anywhere in the world. The evangelists of old would flip if they could have networked pastors via cell phones.
In China, they use inexpensive plastic units that speak every book of the Bible for the non-reading millions. From the Seychelles off Africa, the gospel story of Pilgrim’s Progress is broadcast into the Middle East where Christianity has never gone before. Americans sit in their living rooms and email foreign countries to evangelize and disciple respondents to Christian websites. Reaching around the Earth, the Jesus Film is converting more than 10,000 people per day.
With a bit of creativity, and a dose of passion, we can take hold of the electronic age we were born into and change history.
#4 We are witnesses of prophesy fulfilled.
“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” Matt. 24:14
Out of the world’s 6,800 languages, 2,000 still need a Bible translation. Wycliffe Bible Translators and its partners have launched a plan to achieve this goal by 2025. If the money is raised, the prophesy of Jesus will be accomplished in our generation.
The masses are polarizing, they are separating into two global camps of light and darkness. We are honored above all generations to be witnesses of our times and the fulfillment of prophesies, such as:
In the whole land,” declares the LORD,
“two-thirds will be struck down and perish;
yet one-third will be left in it.
This third I will bring into the fire;
I will refine them like silver
and test them like gold.
They will call on my name
and I will answer them;
I will say, ‘They are my people,’
and they will say, ‘The LORD is our God.’” Zech. 13:8, 9
Internet pornography, easy drugs and alcohol, cultural shifts to sex outside marriage, these are the temptations of today’s world that test and refine us. How exciting that we can be the prophesied one third that says, “The Lord is our God.”
Jesus had this to say about the advent of his coming, however, the words also apply to us:
“For I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.” Matt. 13:17
#5 A mighty move of God is underway.
Today, more people are converted to Jesus than at any time since the resurrection. There are twenty-five million believers added each year, a new one every two seconds. People realize the world is demented and they want out. They yearn for the forgiveness and restoration offered only in Jesus Christ.
In the Sichuan Province of interior China, a revival swept the villages in the 70’s and 80’s and today whole communities, numbering in the millions, remain converted. In Chennai, India, a Christian church of over 30,000 believers stands against Hinduism to worship Jesus exclusively. In Africa, revivals broke out in the Congo, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Nigeria, and many southern locations. The African Christian population has grown from ten million in 1900 to 500 million today, over half the population of the continent.
What an exciting time to be alive. A river of God’s work is flowing, and to enjoy its sweeping power, one has only to put a foot into the water and let go of the shore. There is no greater joy than releasing our hold on self-service so we can swim freely to the aid of others. Jesus said it like this:
“It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35
For the unbeliever or nominal Christian, now may not be the best time to be alive. Overcrowding, refinement, and revival would not be their idea of a great epoch. True, the recent financial downturn and increase in terrorism probably mean the world’s good years are behind us, but for the Kingdom of God, the best is just beginning.
Our choice of the best years really depends on our life goal. If our goal is temporal, we will long for some bygone era when life was easier and safe. If our goal is eternal, we will thrill at the amazing circumstances of today’s world. Once again, Jesus had pointed words on the topic:
“Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.” Jhn. 6:27
For those who reject Jesus, now is a bad time to breathe air. For those who keep one foot in the light and the other in the darkness, the current times bring only fear. However, for the missionary heart, these are the best years.