First World Resources for First World Problems

One of the observations that I've been able to make while here in Japan is the complete lack of need for anything, except the gospel. Japan, like so many parts of the West doesn't have a need for the physical resources that developing countries do. You can drink the tap water, WiFi and cellular service are abundant. Japan has one of the lowest unemployment rates of anywhere in the world. We've heard several times that the average Japanese family has somewhere close to forty thousand dollars in savings alone. While not every person in Japan is affluent and rich, the physical needs of the country and not as noticeable as they are in other places.

So often, in the West we then assume that since this country has plenty in terms of material possessions that there is then no spiritual need. However, the lack of physical need, to me anyways, makes the spiritual need all the more pressing and abundant. They have come to the climax of the book of Ecclesiastes. They have everything but all of it apart from Christ is meaningless.

I have no beef to pick with churches that support and send and work with missionaries in developing countries. These are essential and needed. The gospel is for the whole world, especially the poor, orphaned and broken. However, as I have come to see, there is enough bandwidth for First World churches to reach First World countries. In fact, the burden of responsibility in my book is on countries like the United States to direct their resources in both people and finances towards these places that are so hard to reach.

Japan is expensive to live in. We stood in a small three bedroom apartment in Tokyo that cost $3600 a month to rent. The apartment was less than one thousand square feet. For a church in the middle Africa to send financial support and means to Japan just wouldn't work or be remotely enough. Yes that can be multiplied by the power of the Lord, but it seems to me that the provision Christ has given in the church is for wealthy nations to reach the most expensive, financially difficult place to reach. Christ has raised up First World churches for his glory, and he has gifted First World churches with financial resources to supply the mission to the First World countries like Japan. So let's do it.

As I met with Michael Oh, the CEO of the Lausanne Movement, today he made it abundantly clear that now is the time to financially resource the mission of God in Japan. Now is the time to put all our chips in and see the Lord of the Harvest go to work in bringing people from death to life. So let's do it. Let's be obedient to the call of God and give what we have for the sake of the gospel among the largest unreached people group in the world.