The more I grow in The Lord and the more I know Jesus, the more I am desperate and longing to see Him return. It has become an all consuming desire to see my Lord physically return to earth as He promised to do. Since it is impossible for Jesus to lie, we know that His return is as certain as it came be. Yet also in this, is the promise that this gospel will be preached as a witness to every ETHNE (people group) on earth and THEN the end will come (Mt 24:14). That means that the Gospel going to every people group is a pre-requisite to the return of The Lord. Could this mean that our lack of praying that The Lord of the harvest would launch out workers is because we really do not want Jesus to return? That may be, but there are also lots of people who are desperate to see the world reached with the gospel IN OUR LIFETIME.
If you follow websites like the Joshua Project you will see that currently there are 7,266 unreached people groups left on earth out of a total known people groups of 16,782. That means that we are roughly 57% complete with our job. Roughly 1,980 years and we have only completed 57%.
Now to be fair it has only been in the last 50-60 years that we have been able to identify who these people are, where they live, and then have travel ability to get to them. So it is not all doom and gloom for sure. Jesus said He would build His church and the gates of hell would not prevail against it. We are seeing MAJOR MAJOR MAJOR moves of God among some of the largest blocs of unreached peoples...right now! Much of this is happening through God using dreams and visions and other ways of getting the attention of certain people.
I am guessing I have, at the most another 40-50 years of life left (should The Lord allow it) and I am desperate to see this whole world reached in my life time.
But there is the number 7,266. How do we tackle it?
I would say let's look at what is holding up the show. I think there are professing believers who really do not care, but I do not think this is the majority. I think for most believers they see the task at hand and want to be involved, at some level. They want their life to count for Jesus. Yet they also see that of these 7,266 they know almost no one who speaks the language. They cannot even get Rosetta Stone for most them. There is not a bible nor is there a Jesus film in most of these languages. It could take YEARS of painful struggle just to learn the language, so what do they do? They look to send those willing to go, they bury their head in what is going on around them because they have no answer, or they go and spend their days among already reached people groups. Because who among the church is going to argue against telling people about Jesus? It becomes easier to rally around the cry "what about all the people around me?!?!"
But something happened a couple of years ago that really changed my perspective on this. We were doing some homeless ministry in Fort Worth and came across a group of guys who were stoned out of their minds, passed out, and who did not speak English (there was one woman there who told me this). I tried to make small talk and no one understood a word of what I was saying. Then something inside me just welled up and said, "preach the gospel." I did not know what to do so I did. Strangely enough suddenly every single person in that group began to sit up and listen to me. They responded with head nods and a look of surprise that I was communicating with them. I do not speak spanish at all.
This is precisely what happened in Acts 2. People from all over the world were in one place and they all heard the gospel in their language. Nothing complicated, just a straight up miracle. Real tongues that no one argues over!
What if we stopped looking at what we do not have (language, printed bibles, literature, etc) and went with what we do have. Jesus. What if we stepped out in faith and were just silly enough to believe that Jesus will show up and by His Holy Spirit bridge the language gap? What if we were crazy enough to really believe the bible is true and believed that God does not nor has He changed? Presumption is doing something stupid and expecting Jesus to bail you out. Faith is asking The Lord for what you need, believing He has heard you, and then moving forward expecting Him to show up.
**disclaimer: I am not knocking language acquisition. I think it is helpful and useful. I am merely saying that we should not let what we do not have stop us from moving forward.**