For the Christian, safety is never our highest goal. And for those seeking to take the gospel to the people/language groups that still have no church among them, safety is a distant luxury they died to long-ago. It’s been said many times but bears repeating: the final 3,100 language groups with no church among them are not random in their disbursement—they are especially located in the most difficult and unsafe locations in the world. That’s why they are still unreached. While there is much that we can and should do to prepare our future ambassadors to reach those peoples, there will always be a strong element of risk involved. Not foolish or unwise risk, or risk for personal glory, but inherent, unavoidable, God-honoring risk to do the task the Master has laid before them.
Paul, in his letter to the Philippians, says this: “I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”I’m always struck afresh by how soft I am, how consumed I am with my own safety, when I hear the apostle Paul speak. This is a man who five times received the forty lashes minus one, was beaten with rods three times, stoned once and endured countless other physical, emotional, and psychological torments. And he prays that what he has left in his body, what’s left in the gas tank, will exalt his God, whether by life or death. He’s not looking for an easier path, a teaching position in Antioch perhaps, or a permanent placement to Galatia. He prays for sufficient courage for whatever is asked of him so that he would not bring shame to Christ’s name. For Christ to be exalted in our body, it will demand courage. Courage in things that are foreign to our bodies and to our minds.
—Brad Buser (Overseas missionary to the Iteri people of Papua New Guinea, Mission speaker, and trainer of missionaries)