If 88 Jumbo Jets fully loaded with passengers crashed every day for a whole year, the tragedy still would not equal those who die without ever having heard the Gospel.
A friend’s prayer letter first drew my attention to this proposition, which caused me to wonder: How many people are on a jumbo jet? How many people die each day? How many people in the world are unevangelized? So I decided to look into these matters.
First, I checked with the World Health Organization and learned that in 2011 about 55 million people died. Divide that by 365 to find that 150,685 people died each day.
Now, how many of those people have not heard the Gospel? One of my favorite “go to” sources for information is The International Bulletin of Missionary Research. Each January issue contains an update on the state of Christianity based on the World Christian Database. The IBMR 2014 update indicates that 29.2% of the world is unevangelized and that the world’s population will surpass 7.2 billion people mid-2014. So just about 2.1 billion people in the world are unevangelized.
A simple calculation (150,685 people who die per day times 29.2%) shows that 44,000 people perish each day without hearing the Good News. An average Boeing 747 holds about 500 persons. So 44,000 persons per day divided by 500 persons per plane = 88 planes per day.
I suppose that the person who first thought of this analogy intended it to be a “wake up” call to the Church. And thus it is! With 2.1 billion people in the world who have not heard the Good News about Jesus, strategic action needs to be taken.
As I contemplate the Church’s response to this tragedy, two responses quickly come to mind. First, messengers need to be sent to the unevangelized to tell them the Good News of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection: “He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification” (Romans 4:25 NIV). Second, an appropriate response would be to “ask the Lord of the harvest… to send out workers into his harvest field” (Luke 10:2 NIV).
While these two responses are good, I felt it necessary to make some personal applications. What will I do about those people who have never heard about Jesus and eternal life that he offers?
First, I can send messengers to the unevangelized, which I have been doing and will continue to do. Recently I’ve written two other postings about how to do this well, which you may find interesting:
Second, our family is willing to put some skin in the game. We’re ready to go to the Philippines to share the good news and to prepare Filipinos to do the same. But for us to go, we have to be sent – and there is still a significant amount of monthly support needed.
Third, I decided to set the alarm on my cell phone to ring at 10:02 PM each evening to remind me to pray for workers to be sent out to the unevangelized. “Lord, send forth more workers!”
Finally, I’ve written this to encourage others to ponder their involvement in taking the Good News about Jesus to those who’ve never heard.
So then what might your response be? What will you do?
Please share your thoughts about taking the Good News to those who have not heard.