By Jerry Ramsey
District Foreign Missions Director
I suppose one of the oldest stories around is about the four blind men who had their first encounter with an elephant. As they approached the
elephant each of them arrived at a different point of his massive body. The first man felt the elephant’s trunk and thought it very much resembled a large snake. The second blind man had approached the animal directly in front of one of his front legs and therefore arrived at the conclusion that an elephant very much resembled a tree. The third man had approached the huge creature broadside and as he felt the side of the animal he thought he closely resembled a wall. The fourth man approaching somewhat shyly from the rear had caught hold of the cord-like tail. Consequently, each of them was able to partially describe the elephant but not any one of them was able to describe him fully. The reason was because more of them had taken an overall view of their subject. It was a matter of perspective. So it is with Missions.
From a Pastor’s Standpoint: This man has the everyday pressures of Pastoring in today’s world, striving to operate many times with a T-Model budget in a Mercedes Benz Society. With the demands of a congregation as well as his family along with the various functions on a sectional and district level, sometimes it seems that he just doesn’t have time for a Missionary to come by his church. He also knows that the Missionary’s main purpose in coming by is to ask for a PIM which puts additional pressure on the stressed out Pastor who knows that he is having difficulty in meeting the monthly PIM’s to which he is already committed. Doesn’t that Missions Director know he can’t take anymore missionaries?
From A District Director’s Standpoint: Added to the normal duties of Pastoring and taking care of a family is the burden of placing a Missionary for a church service so he will be able to get back to the land of his calling. The Director must suppress the urge to hang up the phone and “go fishing” after sometimes literally hours of very little if any positive results and make “just one more phone call”. He remembers all too well the sound of disappointment in the Missionaries
voice the last time he was unable to give him a full schedule of services. He tries to walk that thin line between the overworked Pastor and the harassed missionary. He takes his duties seriously because he knows the importance of getting the Missionary back to the field as soon as possible. Each service he fails to schedule just means that much longer the Missionary will have to travel on deputation. Many times he must take his frustrations to God in prayer as he sees the
lack of a burden for Missions from a Pastor.
From a Missionary’s Standpoint: He wearily hangs up the phone and fights back the resentment beginning to well up within his breast as he hears the same old story from a Foreign Missions District Director that he was unable to give him full schedule. Sometimes frustration attempts to set in as he remembers the strong call from God and the many months of wrestling with that call in prayer until finally with his face buried in a carpet made soggy with his tears, he accepted the Will of God for his life. He wants to say, “Don’t those Pastor’s know that I gave up a good church, a comfortable home and a nice income to fulfill the great commission so they wouldn’t have to answer the call.” Instead, he must find a place on his knees and remind the Lord that he is depending upon him to supply his needs and move upon the hearts of Pastor’s to take them on as a PIM so they can obey the call of God upon their life.
So who has an accurate view of Missions? The answer is that none of them alone has the complete picture of the Work of Foreign Missions. However, by each of them doing their best to have a better understanding of the position of the other, it will make for greater harmony and a better spirit of cooperation by all concerned. When we pull together we canindeed reach our World!
(The above information was published by THE MISSISSIPPI TORCH, February, 1993)
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