April - "Or Bust"

April 2008

Ever heard of the Dust Bowl? If you’re thinking college football, then you are on the wrong track. The Dust Bowl was a fierce drought that hit Oklahoma and Texas in the 1930s during the Great Depression. The drought and rumors of untapped opportunity in California led entire families to pack up everything, leave their home behind, and head west into the unknown. “California or bust!” emerged as the watchword for those determined to find success or go bust. They would make it to California, go broke, or even die trying.

The Traveling Team desires to stir college students with a similar rallying call. No, we are not calling for a migration to California, but to see a movement of college students who are willing to forsake everything to bring the gospel into areas of the world where it is unknown. For the Oklahoma farmers, it was all or nothing. They wanted success, they wanted relief, and they left behind everything they knew to get it. Isn’t that the kind of determination we should show in following our Lord- it’s all or nothing? This is not a new idea. In fact, we follow a long spiritual heritage of men and women who have left behind homes and families to pursue God and see Him glorified around the world.

From the beginning, God has asked people to leave home behind and go to a new place. In Genesis 12:1-3, God asked Abram to leave everything behind: his people, his land, his father and family. God said go to an unknown place, and Abram left! God blessed Abram and his descendants, who in turn blessed the entire world. One of those descendants was Jesus Christ, who has made the blessing of salvation available to all people. By the end of time, we can trust that every tribe, tongue and nation will stand before Jesus and worship Him on His throne for all eternity (Rev.5:9, 7:9).

Since Abraham, many others have forsaken much for the spread of the gospel. Just one century ago, a movement began in America on college campuses that sent out thousands of students from the US to the unreached nations. The sacrifices of missionaries at the turn of the 20th century are hard to comprehend in light of today’s globalization. Imagine living in a foreign country with no email, no phone, no Facebook, and no 24-hour flights home! Some even set sail from America with their belongings packed in coffins and no expectation of returning home. Talk about sacrifice! But thousands decided it was worth the cost, and for each one who went, four others committed to stay home and support those that went. (Learn more about this student movement at: http://www.thetravelingteam.org/?q=node/97)

Today, God is still determined to bless the nations, and He invites us to get involved. Whether we pray, give, minister to the foreigners in our community, or go ourselves, sacrifice is required. Let’s be honest, it’s not easy, but God promises to reward our sacrifice (check out Mark 10:29-30). It’s worth serious contemplation to ask ourselves: are we ready to give up whatever it takes to join God in His pursuit of all nations? Do we believe Jesus is really worth it all? Are we living to see every tribe, tongue, and nation worship Christ, or die trying? Let the watchword for our day be EVERY TRIBE, TONGUE, AND NATION OR BUST!