Guest Viewpoint: Whatever It Takes

About 19 years ago, I had the sad responsibility to inform a mom and dad that their beautiful 5-year-old daughter had leukemia. They were shocked and overwhelmed.

A few weeks later, I sat on a hospital bed by their side as an oncologist explained that their insurance would not pay for most of the very expensive treatment their child needed. The father looked at his little daughter, his wife, and the oncologist. Then he said, “It doesn’t matter. We’ll sell whatever we have. Just do whatever it takes to save her life!”

Last year, I spoke to a group of pastors and deacons about the possibility of their churches adopting an unreached, unengaged people group in India or Indonesia. I shared with them how our church had adopted such a people group in Manipur, in northeast India. We had visited them several times to provide encouragement, Bible teaching and children’s activities, and we were sending two of their young men to Bible school.

A great deal of excitement and enthusiasm filled the room as those men asked questions and explored possibilities. You could see the light in their eyes. Then a businessman stood up and asked, “How much does it cost to fly over there, and how long does it take to get there?”

When I explained the cost and travel time, the room grew quiet as everyone digested the information. Then the businessman said, matter-of-factly, “We can’t do that.” Others started to nod. It was like a cold, wet blanket had been thrown on their enthusiasm.

I responded, “This is why there are unreached, unengaged people groups. It’s hard to get there, and it costs a lot.”

They pondered this a moment. Again, he said, “But we can’t do that.”

Finally, an 80-year-old pastor in the back of the room stood up and said, “My brothers, if we don’t go there and take them the gospel, they will die without Jesus and go to a Christ-less eternity like they have done for generations. We have to do whatever it takes to get the gospel to them.” Then he sat down.

The pastors and deacons looked at each other, nodded their heads in approval, and the excitement returned to the room. They began to discuss possibilities again.

The father of the child who was sick with leukemia would do whatever it took to save the life of his precious daughter. (Today, that child is 22 years old and is teaching school!) You and I must be willing to do whatever it takes to reach precious people in faraway places with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Aren’t we glad our heavenly Father didn’t hesitate to do whatever it took to purchase our redemption from a slave market of sin in a faraway, unreached place!

What did it take? It took the life of His only Son. He gave His most precious possession. What are we willing to give in time, money and abilities to reach untold millions of lost people in difficult-to-reach places? The Great Commission challenges us to do “whatever it takes.”

— Robert Jackson is a family practice physician in Spartanburg.