USA (MNN) — There once was a small and poor village that was part of a much larger kingdom. Though it was poor, the village specialized in the best red wine around. One day, the villagers received word that their king was coming to visit them.
Together the villagers decided that they should present a gift to the king: a barrel of red wine. Since they were poor, it seemed best for each villager to contribute one cup of their best wine. And they all agreed and went home that night with full hearts, proud of their village and ready to serve the king.
But when it came time to pour the wine into the barrel, one villager thought to himself, “Everyone is bringing their finest wine. I don’t have much. I will just bring a cup of water, and nobody will know the difference.”
And that is what he did. On the day of arrival, they presented the king with the barrel. After he took a sip of the wine, his face reddened with anger.
“Why did you give me water and call it wine?” he asked furiously. He wondered if they were playing a joke on him.
The villagers were stunned. They investigated the barrel to find, indeed, it was full of water. It soon became apparent that each of the villagers had assumed the rest of the village would provide their best wine, and that nobody would notice just a cup of water.
Instead of bringing the king’s favor upon their village, the villagers were deeply ashamed.
This is a story Max Wilkins of The Mission Society told us that a man from Kosovo had told him.
“Everyone in the village had poured a cup of water in the barrel, and at the end they had all assumed that someone else would bring their very best to the King. No one had ultimately brought anything at all,” Wilkins says.
What’s the point of this story?
You may think that’s a cute story with an obvious message about integrity and doing your best and so on. It is, but this story in particular has something to say to the Church. It is a reminder about our role in missions.
Wilkins says, “I believe in the depths of my being that mission is the reason the church exists. And yet, so many of our local churches are not in any meaningful way mobilized for mission. I don’t think it’s usually unwillingness; I think sometimes it’s just that people have never thought about the mission of the church. And a lot of times, churches just don’t know how to go about mobilizing.”
So the connection is this: most Christians assume that missions is the job of those few missionaries whose pictures are put up on the wall next to a sign that says “Featured Missionary of the Month.”
But when the majority of the church has this in mind, what is actually accomplished?
Let’s go back to the story. Let’s say that a small percentage of the village was true to their word and put their best wine into the barrel. What happens? Not only is the “wine” still going to taste bad, but the honest villagers’ contributions will be ruined.
What if we were to do this in every aspect of our lives? That’s not to say that God isn’t still doing wonderful things with those who are actively serving in missions, but what could it look like if we all lifted a hand to help?
But… missions aren’t for me
Maybe God hasn’t called you to be a missionary, at least not in the traditional sense. But He has called you, as His child, to bring His Good News to every area of the earth.
So, ask yourself, how is your church doing that in a significant way? How is your church impacting the world for Christ? If you can’t answer, you may want to keep reading.
Global Outreach Weekend
The Mission Society would like to train your church to engage the world for missions in a faithful manner. They want to teach you how to use every member of your church–the givers, goers, or prayers–to be effective in missions. They do this through their Global Outreach Weekend.
Wilkins says, “[It] helps the pastor and key leaders of a local church to understand the biblical mandate for mission, why it matters, and what it means for mission to be at the heart of who a church is–and we’re talking of course about the mission of Jesus, so the purpose that we exist.”
After the conference, The Mission Society offers various follow-up options to help the church put what it’s just learned into action.
Wilkins, who is the new president of The Mission Society, tells us how his church was impacted by the Global Outreach Weekend.
The church he pastored for 30 years had a healthy ministry. But missions was always a side program designated for the dozen people who cared about it. They were the ones who went on mission trips to Haiti on a small budget of $23,000.
It was their interest, their calling supported by the church, but the thousands of other members were completely disconnected.
Then The Mission Society came along.
They asked the church to establish a goal to increase their mission impact and grow their ministry.
Wilkins says he thought he was being very faithful when he increased the budget by three times.
But in the first year, they raised $825,000. The church as a whole had a changed heart for missions.
“It changed the hearts of the entire congregation so that the church actually became known all over the community as the mission church,” Wilkins says.
All of the sudden, dozens more in the church began to answer a call to ministry, hundreds of them signing up for short-term missions, and others dedicating their lives long-term to the mission field.
“The heart for it was there with our people, but it was The Mission Society coming alongside us and helping us see how to take that heart and mobilize it and put legs on it that made all the difference,” Wilkins explains.
Not only are we supposed to care about missions, but it really is the whole point.
Wilkins says, “The church is the called-out Body of Christ who have been put on a mission by Jesus, and it’s a part of who God’s called us to be.”
Wilkins says the man who told the story of the wine villagers said this to him, “The Church of Jesus Christ has been given everything by the Lord, and what He asks is that we bring the very best that we have to honor Him. But if all of us sit back and say, “You know, I’m going to keep the very best for myself, somebody else will do it,” at the end of the day rather than bringing our very best, we end up bringing nothing to the Lord.”
Our calling is to honor our God through our lives.
Wilkins says, “The best way we honor the King of kings is to join Him in His mission in the world and bring the very best we have to that task that He gave us to do.”
Find out more about how your church can get involved with the Global Outreach Weekend here.