Do you ever daydream about things you’ll do in the future? Seeing as I am back in school, I dream about what I would do if I were to fulfill one of my goals and teach at a college someday. I think about things I would tell my students. Real things. You know, some of the things your teachers never told you or lied to you about. The most prominent being: “There are no stupid questions.” That’s a lie and we all know it.
Here’s how I look at it: there are either stupid questions or stupid people. Since I’m optimistic and generally think the best of people, I’m not going to say people are stupid. But I will not ignore the fact that overall smart people, if I’m being nice, can ask really stupid questions.
Sometimes, stupid questions need to be call exactly what they are. Some questions should not be treated as serious, worthwhile questions. They are not worth responding to because they are based on completely faulty logic or false information.
Out of all the stupid questions within Christianity (and there are a lot), I believe I have identified the one, which can be classified as the stupidest question. This question “wins” because not only is it entirely stupid, but it also is repeatedly asked, as if the question had some merit. So without further ado, I give you the stupidest question in Christianity.
|Photo from www.sxc.hu by Svilen Milev|
That is the stupidest question and here’s why. It comes from a mindset that is completely contrary to Christianity. The very heart of Christianity is the last words of Christ – the Great Commission:
Then Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
For most people, when they ask “Why are you going to be a missionary?” what they really mean is “You don’t need to do all that. There’s no need to get crazy and go off to some deserted place, learn some weird language and try to talk to people with hard to pronounce names about Jesus. You can tell people about Jesus here.”
In one sense, that person is right. The missionary can stay in America and tell people about Jesus, but it seems pretty certain that the questioner has no intention of leaving this country, so why aren’t they about telling others about Christ? What is often the case is the questioner is a lazy, pew-sitting Christian with no initiative to tell anyone about Jesus or make any sacrifices for the Gospel, but he may not feel like he has to if the missionary stays here. If the missionary leaves to go to some far off country, the church may ask lazy Christian to do something like go on visitation or teach Sunday School and that would be bad.
It boils down to this, either the words of Christ mean something or they don’t. Recently, the youth pastor at our church spoke on the Great Commission and said there are two options for the vast majority of American Christians’ refusal to go overseas for the sake of the Gospel. Either we don’t believe what it says or we don’t care that billions, with a “B,” are dying and going to hell, many having never had the opportunity to even hear the name of “Jesus.”
Too often we term places of the world “God-forsaken.” No place on this earth is God-forsaken, but too many of them are “Christian-forsaken.” We don’t go because they are hard. We used to be able to say we at least gave, even if we didn’t go, but we don’t even give that much anymore. When you look at it terms of percentage of our income, Christians give barely anything to taking the Gospel to the nations. It was the last words of Christ. It was His final command to us and we have spent decades, if not centuries, trying to avoid following it.
Something has to change and it has to change for the glory of God. The question of “why are you going to be a missionary” has to be viewed as a stupid question. The time has come to re-write and re-form Christian culture to one that expects everyone to be a missionary, regardless of what context God has placed them in. We should expect to have to continually be training new leaders in our churches because the former leaders have followed God to a new mission field.
Southeastern President, Dr. Danny Akin is fond of saying, “Unless God says otherwise, go to the nations. If He says, ‘No,’ then go to the cities.” For too often and for far too long, Christians have used as an excuse: “God hasn’t called me to be a missionary.” Really? Could you scroll back up and re-read those verses from Matthew 28 for me, because I think if Christ saved you, then He called you and He called you to be a missionary. He may not lead you to far away places, but He may just do that.
It is a stupid question to ask “why are you going to be a missionary” because we all are called to be missionaries. We all have the task of taking the Gospel to the nations. We all face the challenge of reshaping American Christianity to a faith that reflects the Gospel and the heart of Christ for the lost of the world.
Do not be the one asking the stupidest question in Christianity in the easiest place to be a Christian. Be the one asking the best question in the hardest places: “Can I tell you about a man named Jesus?”