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Charles Johnson is a rather ordinary sort of fellow with one exception. He actually believes the world is flat! (Sorry Pythagoras). As President of the Flat World Society, he gave an interview to the Los Angeles Times affirming the central core of their belief system: the world is flat and the illusion of a round earth simply cannot be true.

My late friend, Jim Irwin, one of the 12 men who walked on the moon would have scoffed at such an absurd premise. Jim said that standing on the moon, looking back at planet Earth, as he extended his arm, Planet Earth was approximately the same size as his thumbnail.

Isn't it strange how myths just don't go away? I was in San Francisco last week speaking for a missions conference. In spite of the clarity with which Jesus commanded the disciples to take the Good News to all the world, myths abound regarding this great task. Like what? Ponder these.

Myth #1:
Missions hurt the local church.
The farthest light is brightest at its source. Those who care about the needs of others around the world never ignore the needs of those at their door. The difference between Galilee and the Dead Sea is that water flows out of Galilee and stays in the Dead Sea to evaporate and dissipate. The attitude of "let's keep everything we have" does the same thing.

Myth #2:
Missions are not really necessary. If God wants the pagans saved, He will do it without our help.
God works through human instrumentality no matter how flawed we are.

Study the lives of the New Testament church and see yourself reflected in them. Some struggled with the flesh. They were not perfect yet God used them.

Myth #3:
Uneducated pagans are not worth the trouble.
Jesus' most comprehensive messages followed conversations with people who were insignificant as the world views accomplishment. He demonstrated every person is of value in God's sight.

Myth #4:
Missionaries interfere with native culture.
While this allegation is partially true, the flip side is that light destroys the darkness of deceptions about health, salvation, and relationships. It is untrue that misery and sickness are wonderful and superstitions are wholesome and enriching.

Myth #5:
We can't afford missions.
You cannot afford disobedience to what Jesus asked you to do.

Myth #6:
We have people in need right here.
True, there are needs where you are, but the difference is the vast resources of help available whereas elsewhere in the world, people suffer without help. Example: 12 million children are orphaned in the Sub-Sahara because of the AIDS epidemic.

Myth #7:
The needs are so great and the darkness is so vast, I can't do anything.
You can make a difference! Even the least amount of light drives away great darkness. You count. Use your influence and your resources for God.

Myth #8:
Missions is a waste of young lives.
It is true that missions does exact a price in the currency of suffering, loneliness, privation, struggles, and, at times, even martyrdom. The register of those who have laid down their lives for the cause of Christ includes the names of Jim Elliot and the Auca Five, Chet Bitterman, Stanley Dale, Dr. Paul Carlson, and Martin Burnham. Yet with Paul they could have said, "For me to live is Christ and to die is gain." But history shows the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church. Those who have died for the cause have not died in vain.

Myths about missions will not disappear, but many of them have about as much reason for existing as does the Flat World Society. Think about it.

Copyright © Guidelines International
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Author Biography

Harold J. Sala
Web site: Guidelines International Ministries
Speaker, author and Bible teacher, Dr. Harold Sala founded Guidelines in 1963 and has served at its helm since its inception. Pioneering the five-minute commentary in Christian radio, Dr. Sala’s daily “Guidelines-A Five Minute Commentary on Living” is broadcast in 49 of the 50 states and is heard the world over in a variety of languages. Sala, who holds a Ph.D. in biblical text, has authored over 55 books published in 19 languages. He speaks and teaches frequently at conferences, seminars, and churches worldwide. Residing in Mission Viejo, California, Harold and his wife, Darlene, have three adult children and eight well-loved grandchildren.

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