Do you hear the movement being played on the instruments of the nations as orchestrated by the Divine Maestro? Listen. It’s playing next door. In his address on Mars Hill, Paul was attempting to share the gospel with the Athenians. In the middle of his address, he made a brief but very important statement related to the sovereign will of God and the nations:
“And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us” (Acts 17:26—27).
What is clear from this passage is that the Creator is sovereign over His creation. All the nations of the world have a bloodline running back to Adam and Eve. God is Lord over the history and habitations of His people. The practical reality of these theological truths reveals the outworking of His salvation history among the peoples of the world as they migrate across the planet in search of a home. The book of Revelation reveals the fulfillment of His work as the faces of the nations are observed around the throne (Rev. 7:9).
From a sociological perspective, there are various push-pull factors in play as to why people migrate. Push factors move people out of their homelands. These are often negative and may include war, famine, persecution, poverty, and disasters. Pull factors draw people to other locations. Generally, these are more positive matters such as the hope for a better way of life, material wealth, better education, safety, and freedom. While these factors operate throughout the world, the reality is that a Divine Maestro is working through the good, bad, and ugly so that the nations of the world may find Him.
While it is easy to get lost in the numbers from across the globe, we must remember that each one represents someone created in the Image of God in need of salvation or to serve on mission with Him. In light of the work of the Divine Maestro, the church must ask how she should respond in the age of migration. This pressure point creates many challenges and opportunities.
Not only has the Lord told us to go into the entire world but He is also bringing the world to our neighbourhoods. Some of these represent the world’s unreached people groups. Reaching them with the gospel and partnering with them to carry this good news along their social networks across the globe is an opportunity for mission that the church must recognize and seize.
Used by Permission. Pressure Points: Twelve Global Issues Shaping the Face of the Church, J.D. Payne, July 16, 2013, Thomas Nelson. Nashville, Tennessee. All rights reserved.