Two Sacrifices. Two Reactions

Scenario 1:

A college-age American decides to enlist to serve his/her country.  Family and friends are proud and encourage them.  Flags wave.  They are deployed and lose their life on foreign soil and are recognized as a hero.  Honored by the government and their community, as they should be.

Scenario 2:

A college-age American wants to be a missionary.  Family and friends encourage them to get an education first.  Parents worry that they will be behind their peers in earning power.  Maybe they do, maybe they don’t.

He/she feels called to serve in a poor and/or dangerous part of the world.  Church leaders questions the wisdom of it and are not likely to support (especially if female).  Parents and friends wonder why they would want to leave America and live in a place where there are so few churches and so few blessings.

Everyone points out the dangers.  Maybe it’s a country with a strong Muslim presence (for the sake of this scenario, I won’t even use Iran) or anti-Christian government.  He could be imprisoned.  She could be kidnapped or raped.  If it’s a couple and children are involved, grandparents can’t fathom their little cute ones living so far away.

Or maybe it’s questioning them on living without proper healthcare, or living with malaria or without Dr. Pepper and peanut better, American doctors and TV.

But you can serve God right here in America!” or “The Bible belt needs Christians, too.”

Europe needs missionaries, too” (and YES, they do)

You might lose your life.  We can’t take that chance.”

Too dangerous.”

“God will send someone else.  He will get the Gospel to them somehow.  It doesn’t have to be you.”

How can you raise your children in a place like that without…X,Y,Z?”

Two similar scenarios where a young person wants to make a commitment that could involve losing their life. One for God.  One for Country.

How would you respond if it were your child, grandchild, sister, nephew?

How would your congregation respond to each of these?

How about responding only with situations that prove me wrong?

Give me examples of faith and courage.

Show me I am being ridiculous, setting up a straw-man.

Show me that we admire and support the courage of a Christian missionary AT LEAST as much as we do our servicemen and women!  Please!

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7 thoughts on “Two Sacrifices. Two Reactions

  1. You make such a good point! I’m not going to claim that I know how I will react in approximately 8 or 9 years when my eldest is at this point in life, but I do know that I wish I was a missionary, and I would like to think I will be happy and proud if my children choose to go that route. Honestly, I think I would worry more if they went into the military, but I can see others reacting the opposite, the way you’ve described in your post. It might be because I have a couple of ministers in my family, but I have told my boys before that I would love for them to become a preacher or missionary. One told me he is thinking about going into the army, and I said that would be fine if that’s what he wanted to do (but I was thinking there’s still plenty of time for him to change his mind). :o) I don’t want anyone to think that I DON’T want my kids to serve in the military – but I would worry about them.

  2. brian

    hey leece! great to hear from you.
    you bring up another symptom/sign of the problem, in that anything that remotely smacks of pacifism will not be tolerated by the American Civil Religion. our brothers a 100 years ago would be run out of town for their views on war, govt, etc. I often have to add a disclaimer that I am not “anti-military” (as you did) b/c I am not a true pacifist, just lean that way.

  3. I have to say, Brian, that I agree with your post here. So many comments have been made to me about mission work like you’ve included in your article. I pray that one day we’ll see Christian missionaries as the true heroes in the church that they are.

  4. I don’t want my daughter to serve in the military, and I would do everything in my power to dissuade her if she expressed an interest in doing so. Why would I support her? I could see no reason for doing so. She may very well decide to serve in missions somewhere. I would prefer her to stay home (for various reasons) but I would support her going to serve abroad on the mission field.

  5. brian

    thanks Chad, you are my hero.
    Wendy, how is nationalism expressed in Australia? is their the same level of syncretism?

  6. During my last year living in Searcy, I met a sophomore student who was upset because her parents were completely opposed to her going on a summer long mission trip to Ghana, Africa for all the usual reasons. At the same time, her parents were in full support of her older brother’s decision to join the US Marines (which would almost surely have landed him on the front line in Iraq). She didn’t understand how her Christian parents could be more supportive of American goals than her going to share the gospel with people in another country.

    Regardless of a claim to be Christians, when parents act like this what they really tell their children is that following Jesus is not all that important. How sad!

  7. Brian, there is a small minority who are into patriotism/supporting the military, but the majority of Australians, while nationalistic about our sports teams and our “identity”, do not believe the old lie (dulce et decorum est pro patria mori)

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